Marchers deliver 167,000 petition signatures calling for a statewide ban
More than 250 residents of California's farmworking communities boarded buses early Wednesday morning for the long ride to Sacramento, determined to make their voices heard by policymakers pondering the fate of the brain-harming pesticide chlorpyrifos.
A widely used chemical linked to autism and ADHD, chlorpyrifos was headed for a nationwide ban after years of study by the US EPA, following a determination that it was unsafe for use in any amount. At the last minute, and with no new evidence of its safety, Trump's appointee EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt denied the ban - leaving it up to the states to take action where the feds failed.
Now residents of California's farmworking communities are asking: Will California live up to its progressive promise? Will the state that produces most of the nation's fruits and vegetables and uses 10-20% of its chlorpyrifos, take a stand to protect the developing brains of California's children?
The people on those early morning buses were determined to find out.
Residents carried signs urging the state to act now to protect children's health
State Senator Bill Monning addresses the media
4th Grader Judith Cortez speaks to the press about the risks to children's health caused by exposure to chlorpyrifos
Community members of all ages gathered in the July heat at the CalEPA building in Sacramento
We delivered more than 167,000 signatures to the Department of Pesticide Regulation calling on them to enact a statewide ban. Many thanks to Care2, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Environmental Health, Center for Food Safety, Courage Campaign, CREDO, Friends of the Earth and Pesticide Action Network for their help gathering signatures.
After speaking to the media, the crowd marched past Cesar Chavez Plaza towards the Capitol, where small groups of residents had a chance to speak to their legislators.
California, are you listening?