The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) announced on October 9, 2019 that virtually all agricultural use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos in California will end by December 31, 2020. The move comes as Dow AgroSciences LLC and several other registrants have reached an agreement with DPR to withdraw their products from California. Recent research, cited in findings by the state's independent Scientific Review Panel on Toxic Air Contaminants, has shown that chlorpyrifos is also a developmental neurotoxin in children and sensitive populations.
Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate pesticide that is used to control pests on a variety of crops, including alfalfa, almonds, citrus, cotton, grapes and walnuts. Although use of chlorpyrifos in California has declined by about 50 percent in the last decade, some growers who still use this pesticide to tackle pests will be impacted by the cancellation
In order to support the transition to safer, more sustainable alternatives, DPR and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) created a Chlorpyrifos Alternatives Work Group to identify, evaluate, and recommend alternative pest management solutions. Three workshops (Fresno, Sacramento, Oxnard) were held in January to gather public input.
The work group includes representatives from California universities, environmental justice groups, UC Cooperative Extension and IPM scientists, pesticide registrants, farmworker health and safety organizations, agricultural commissioners, commodity organizations, pest control advisors, product manufacturers, and state agencies. Their report, Towards Safer and More Sustainable Alternatives to Chlorpyrifos: An Action Plan for California (En Español), was issued in July 2020.
Addressing the Work Group’s Recommendations
The Chlorpyrifos Alternatives Work Group’ outlined five key recommendations in their report. These recommendations align with DPR’s mission to protect human health and the environment by regulating pesticide sales and use, and by fostering reduced-risk pest management. The Department’s past, current and planned activities related to the Work Group’s recommendations are described in a February 22, 2021 memo.
For continuous updates about the work group and other actions related to chlorpyrifos cancellation, please sign up for the Alternatives list serve.
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