Multiple state agencies are working to develop chlorpyrifos alternatives, as the product is scheduled to be phased out entirely at the end of 2020. The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) and the California Department of Food and Agriculture established an Alternatives to Chlorpyrifos Work Group (Work Group) specifically designed to formulate a strategy for making the transition away from chlorpyrifos as seamless as possible. Several public workshops are being held to allow community members to voice their concerns for the future.
“The feedback has been largely positive; I think people have really felt that they’ve been heard on these issues,” said DPR Director Val Dolcini. “I also understand that this is not a process that lends itself to instant answers, but rather it’s a process that’s a deliberative one and a thoughtful one and one that really considers all points of view in California.”
There has been concern among the agriculture industry about the seemingly abrupt cancellation of the product. The point was also raised at one of the public roundtable events that the process for its cancellation has been progressively moving forward for several years. “Certainly, the cancellation for chlorpyrifos was something that we didn’t undertake lightly. We’ve been looking at this for a number of years and we’re really heartened to see the Governor’s commitment to this process,” Dolcini noted.
The Work Group will be releasing a report in April with recommendations that incorporate short, medium and long-term plans to ensure the California agriculture industry remains vibrant. The process for developing chlorpyrifos alternatives is going to require research and making the most efficient and effective use of the funding support that has been made available.
“I wish that the research budget was infinite when it comes to looking for safer alternatives to a wide variety of pesticides, frankly, including chlorpyrifos,” said Dolcini. “I’m really heartened by the work of the Work Group thus far and I’m certain that they’re going to come up with some great recommendations for us.”