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State opens up review of brain-harming pesticide the feds failed to ban

Sacramento, CAImmediately following the first and only public meeting on the fate of a widely-used brain-harming pesticide, California’s farmworker communities and allies are calling on the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) to do what Trump’s environmental chief Scott Pruitt failed to do, and immediately suspend use of the organophosphate pesticide chlorpyrifos in California. In March, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) chief failed to follow through on EPA scientists’ proposed ban of the chemical, ignoring clear scientific findings of harm to human health. Now, two state scientific bodies are mulling additional restrictions or an outright ban in California.

Last month, DPR released a draft risk assessment that ignores EPA’s conclusions and mires the state in a lengthy evaluation process expected to stretch well into 2019. At a public meeting on Friday, DPR is expected to announce county-level voluntary interim mitigations that will likely fall far short of an immediate suspension – leaving vulnerable communities at risk of further harm.  Advocates say that until the state’s two science bodies complete their review, the state must step up and suspend chlorpyrifos use in California, where more than a million pounds are used each year.

Chlorpyrifos is a potent neurotoxin, and exposure to even tiny amounts is linked to autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, and IQ loss, along with neurological, respiratory, and developmental harms. Already banned for home use in 2000, the pesticide is applied in large quantities in California agriculture, especially on orange, walnut and almond groves.

WHERE:         Outside California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) Building
1001 I St, Sacramento (Between 10th and 11th Streets), CA 95814

WHEN:           Friday, September 15, 12:30 pm

WHO:              Speakers include:

  • Marc Grossman, Spokesman, United Farm Workers
  • Maria Soledad Martinez, UC Davis student and daughter of Delano farmworkers
  • Fidelia Morales, a mother and community activist from Lindsay
  • Melissa Dennis and Casimira Salazar, teachers from the Pajaro Valley Unified School District

SPANISH:      Spanish speakers will be available for interview

VISUALS:       Banners, signs