Sacramento (DPR) – The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) and California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) announced the members of a new, cross-sector working group created to identify, evaluate and recommend safer, sustainable pest management solutions that can replace the pesticide chlorpyrifos.
The Alternatives to Chlorpyrifos Work Group includes leaders and experts from a wide cross section of interests — including agriculture, California universities, environmental justice groups, farmworker health and safety organizations, and pesticide manufacturers, among others — to ensure the group represents a diverse range of perspectives. The Work Group will convene later this month to begin its work.
“Identifying viable alternatives to chlorpyrifos – and developing safer pest management tools – is critically important but challenging work,” said acting director of DPR Val Dolcini. “We look forward to collaborating with the members of the Work Group and others on safer tools, solutions, and pest management practices that make sense for all Californians.”
Despite the Trump administration’s reversal of a decision to ban the pesticide at the federal level, California continues to move forward to protect public health, workers, and the environment. DPR announced that it is sending notices to cancel chlorpyrifos product registrations to the product registrants because of the detrimental human health effects associated with the products’ use. The registrants have 15 days to request a hearing. If a public hearing is requested, the notices will be filed with the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH).
The Work Group will identify innovative, sustainable pest management tools, practices and alternatives to chlorpyrifos that are safer for workers, communities and the environment, adequately control the targeted pests, and are cost effective. It will be facilitated by Joseph McIntyre of Ag Innovations based in Sebastopol, Calif. CalEPA, CDFA, and DPR will serve in an advisory capacity. A roster of the working group is listed here.
“Farmers have come a long way in reducing their use of chlorpyrifos, but development of alternatives for the remaining users will require significant investment and time for transition,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “We must be practical in finding solutions that fit the pest management realities farmers face, and it is critical that we all work together to address this challenge.”
The Work Group will:
- Develop short-term, practical solutions to transition to safer more sustainable pest-management solutions.
- Develop a five-year action plan to identify and develop safer, more sustainable pest management tools, practices, and alternatives.
- Begin work in August 2019 and conclude in the spring of 2020.
In January, the Work Group will hold three public workshops in different regions of California to solicit public input on the action plans. Dates and locations of these workshops will be publicized at a later date. In the interim, the public can provide input to the Work Group via email at email@example.com. The public can also sign up for updates about the Work Group at alternatives to chlorpyrifos list serve.
The development of safer, more sustainable alternatives to chlorpyrifos will be supported by Governor Newsom’s 2019-2020 budget, approved by the Legislature, which appropriates over $5 million in grant funding for that purpose. The availability and solicitation of the grants will be announced in the coming months.
In May, the California Environmental Protection Agency announced that DPR was acting to cancel chlorpyrifos. Restrictions on chlorpyrifos use that went into effect in January 2019 following DPR’s identification of the pesticide as a toxic air contaminant will remain in effect pending the cancellation action.
The decision to ban chlorpyrifos follows mounting evidence, PDF, including findings by the state’s independent Scientific Review Panel on Toxic Air Contaminants, that this pesticide causes serious health effects in children and other sensitive populations at lower levels of exposure than previously understood. These effects include impaired brain and neurological development. For more info on chlorpyrifos, cancellation and the Work Group, visit our website.
Quick facts about Chlorpyrifos
- Chlorpyrifos is used to control pests on a variety of crops, including alfalfa, almonds, citrus, cotton, grapes and walnuts. It has declined in use over the past decade as California growers have shifted to safer alternatives. Use of the pesticide dropped more than 50 percent from two million pounds in 2005 to just over 940,000 pounds in 2017.
- In 2015 DPR made chlorpyrifos a California restricted material. This means that only trained, licensed professionals who have a permit from a local county agricultural commissioner (CAC), PDF may use products containing chlorpyrifos.
- Chlorpyrifos has been prohibited by U.S. EPA for virtually all residential uses since December 31, 2001.