Amid State delays, Santa Cruz steps up to increase local protection from brain-harming pesticide
As we reported last month, an independent Scientific Review Panel (SRP) is reviewing the Department of Pesticide Regulation's (DPR) latest Risk Assessment for the neurotoxic organophosphate chlorpyrifos, a pesticide so hazardous the US EPA proposed a total federal ban. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt reversed the proposed ban a year ago, leaving the fate of the toxic nerve agent to the states.
When they reconvened March 2, the SRP questioned DPR on the progress they've made toward strengthening the risk assessment to provide protection from developmental neurotoxicity, as the panel had ordered at the January hearing.
DPR's response: Not much.
And the next SRP meeting scheduled for April has now been cancelled, to allow DPR lots more time for revisions.
After the meeting, DPR blithely tweeted "The SRP process has a long way to go - we believe in being thorough!"
"Thorough" is good, but inaction is inexcusable. Today's children and babies can't wait.
While DPR slow-walks their review of one of the most hazardous - and most thoroughly studied - pesticides in use in California, no new restrictions have been proposed. That leaves in place DPR's weak - and voluntary - interim mitigations, which were based on the earlier risk assessment that the SRP had already slammed as inadequate.
Meanwhile, we're meeting with County Agricultural Commissioners to step up where the state and feds have failed. The Santa Cruz County Agricultural Commissioner has already taken steps to increase restrictions on chlorpyrifos use, including stronger notification and signage requirements, a ban on aerial applications, and a total 24/7 ban within 150' to 500' of sensitive sites.
Tell Gov. Brown
to suspend chlorpyrifos immediately while the state finishes its lengthy review. We know enough to end it now.