The California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) recently announced that the process to ban chlorpyrifos in California is now officially underway. Chlorpyrifos had already formally been listed as a “toxic air contaminant” back in April, which required the development of further control measures. The decision to ban chlorpyrifos comes after DPR determined that additional control measures would not be possible.
“It’s probably not a surprise to many, but it’s still a bold and important action,” said CalEPA Secretary Jared Blumenfeld. “In terms of next steps, it really follows a process that’s laid out by statute and that will take between six months and two years. So, this isn’t going to happen quickly.”
CalEPA and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) also announced that Governor Gavin Newsome will be adding $5.7 million in new funding to support the transition to more sustainable alternatives in the May Revision budget proposal. “That will go to technical assistance through Department of Food and Agriculture. It will go to really successful but oversubscribed integrated pest management programs at Department of Pesticide Regulation,” Blumenfeld noted.
There are also plans for DPR and CDFA to establish a cross-sector working group to help facilitate the identification and evaluation of alternative solutions to pest management. The group will be “working with growers to come up with alternatives, not just to chlorpyrifos but making sure that we don’t replace one organophosphate, in this case, chlorpyrifos, with something else that’s also harmful to human health and the environment,” said Blumenfeld. “So, our goal is to kind of think about how to move collectively towards a process of getting safer alternatives onto the market quicker.”
DPR will be working closely with county ag commissioners and local air pollution control districts throughout the cancellation process. The stricter permitting restrictions for chlorpyrifos, including the prohibition of aerial sprays and implanting quarter-mile buffer zones, will remain in place. Aggressive enforcement of those restrictions is being encouraged by DPR.
Listen to Blumenfeld’s interview below.