California Department of Pesticide Regulation to Study Chlorpyrifos

Len Wilcox California Corner, Regulation

A new effort is underway in California to further regulate chlorpyrifos. On August 18, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) issued a directive for interim mitigation measures to address health risks from the pesticide. This action marks the start of a public and scientific review of DPR’s revised draft risk assessment that could lead to increased restrictions statewide.
At the same time, the California Environmental Protection Agency announced that the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment is referring chlorpyrifos for potential listing as a development toxicant under Proposition 65. These announcements come after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency denied a petition from anti-pesticide groups demanding the cancellation of all tolerances for chlorpyrifos.

Chlorpyrifos is an insecticide proven effective against mosquitoes, cockroaches and fire ants. It has been registered for use in the United States since 1965.

The federal EPA was petitioned to ban chlorpyrifos due to evidence of harmful effects to children. However, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says that chlorpyrifos is not harmful at exposure levels upheld by the EPA. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt denied the ban earlier this year.

According to a press release issued by California Citrus Mutual (CCM), CCM executives and several board members had a conversation with the agency director and DPR staff following the August 18 announcement. “We wanted to understand the basis and reasoning behind this latest action,” said CCM President Joel Nelsen. “What we found out was that there is none.”

DPR will be receiving comments on the draft risk assessment until October 2, 2017, and will be holding a public workshop in Sacramento on September 15.

The CCM press release stated that CCM will be actively opposing any further restrictions on chlorpyrifos, or any of their growers’ crop protection tools that are not based on solid, reputable science. “We (CCM) will also be joining with other organizations to stop this attempt by the regulatory agencies to move away from science-based decision making,” stated the release.

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About the Author

Len Wilcox

Correspondent at Large for Citrus Industry Magazine and AgNet West