SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today responded to news that the largest manufacturer of pesticide linked to brain damage and cognitive impairment in children will stop making the harmful product.
The decision by Corteva Agriscience to stop making chlorpyrifos was announced the same day that sales of the pesticide ended in California under an agreement the state reached with Corteva and a dozen other companies to withdraw their products in the state.
“When it comes to protecting clean air and clean water in the Trump era, California has proven to be our nation’s first and strongest line of defense,” said Governor Newsom. “California stepped up when the Trump administration refused to defend the health of kids, farm workers and communities from chlorpyrifos. This news is a major victory for the environment and families across the country.”
Although the Trump administration reversed a decision to ban the chemical, the California Environmental Protection Agency announced last year that the Department of Pesticide Regulation was acting to prohibit the use of chlorpyrifos by canceling the pesticide’s product registrations.
The decision followed mounting evidence that chlorpyrifos is associated with serious health effects in children and other sensitive populations at lower levels of exposure than previously understood, including impaired brain and neurological development.
At the same time, CalEPA and the California Department of Food and Agriculture have established a cross-sector working group to identify, evaluate and recommend safer, more sustainable pest management alternatives to chlorpyrifos. Governor Newsom also allocated more than $5 million in the state’s budget for research into alternative, more sustainable pest management tools.
In October, California reached an agreement with Corteva and other companies to end use of their products sooner than anticipated. Under the settlement, the companies agreed that:
All sales of chlorpyrifos products to growers in California would end on February 6, 2020.
Growers will no longer be allowed to possess or use chlorpyrifos products in California after December 31, 2020.
Until then, all uses must comply with existing restrictions, with aggressive enforcement of these restrictions.
California is the nation’s largest agricultural state with $50 billion in sales from more than 400 crops. The pesticide was used on a variety of crops – including alfalfa, almonds, citrus and grapes – however, use has declined in the past decade by more than 50 percent as California growers have shifted to safer alternatives.