SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA: What comes next after the ban of one of California’s most widely-used agricultural pesticides? Today the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) released recommendations from a workgroup convened by Governor Newsom last May to find alternatives to the pesticide chlorpyrifos, a known neurotoxin, slated for a ban on all uses except for granular by the end of 2020.
The workgroup included a wide cross-section of participants— farmworker advocates, environmental justice groups, agricultural organizations, scientists with expertise in pest management and public health, and pest control advisors. The workgroup will reconvene for a second year with a focus on sustainable pest management.
The report was welcomed by advocates with the statewide coalition Californians for Pesticide Reform (CPR), who applauded the inclusion of less toxic pest management methods and the explicit recommendations for non-chemical pest management approaches, including biological controls. However, CPR noted the report’s emphasis on identifying short-term chemical replacements for chlorpyrifos, and urged stronger representation from communities impacted by chlorpyrifos in next year’s workgroup.
“We are appreciative of the chlorpyrifos workgroup’s attention to sustainable pest management and trust that next year’s workgroup will move past this report’s immediate focus on chemical replacements for chlorpyrifos,” said Sarah Aird, CPR co-director. “Creating a vision for safe and sustainable farming practices is critical work that will protect the health of millions of California residents and increase the resilience of agriculture in our state. But we won’t get there unless the new version of the workgroup has a more equitable membership. There should be greater representation of impacted communities and individuals with expertise in ecological approaches to crop and pest management, and less of those invested in preserving the status quo.”