Dec. 21, 2017
The pesticide chlorpyrifos has been added to the existing list of chemicals known in California to cause reproductive harm by the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.
The insecticide is used on various types of California fruit, nut and vegetable crops that amount to more than 1 million pounds, according to a press release from the pesticide reform organization Safe Ag Safe Schools.
Those who live near agricultural fields, including women and children, are often exposed to the chemical through food and the air they breathe, according to the press release.
Norm Groot, executive director of the Monterey County Farm Bureau said the chemical is not as relevant in the Salinas Valley as it once was but has been used responsibly.
“That’s a chemical that’s been used for a long time and has been declining in use significantly in the last three to five years,” said Groot. “It’s been used safely for a number of years, so I’m not sure how much of an impact it’s going to have on public health.”
According to the Monterey County Office of the Agriculture Commission, only 4,793 pounds were sprayed in 209 applications in 2015. That's down from 2005's 66,237 pounds used in 386 applications.
Although the new listing was made official, it will take one year to become effective in which products that may be associated with the chemical will have to carry the Proposition 65 label, according to the press release.
The Developmental and Reproductive Toxicant Identification Committee had been reviewing the chemical since 2008 and came to the conclusion that there was enough evidence to support their claim that it was, in fact, a developmental toxicant.
The chemical was scheduled to be banned on all food crops by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency earlier this year but that decision was recalled by the incoming EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, according to the press release.