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State Bans Pesticide Linked To Developmental Problems | California Healthline

California officials announced a ban on chlorpyrifos, a widely used pesticide that has been linked to lower IQs, lower birth weights and other developmental issues in children, even as the federal government fights to protect it.

California will ban the use of a widely used pesticide in the face of “mounting evidence” that it causes developmental problems in children, state officials announced Wednesday.
Several studies have linked prenatal exposure of chlorpyrifos to lower birth weights, lower IQs, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism symptoms in children.
The chemical is mostly used on crops — including citrus, almonds, and grapes — but is also applied on golf courses and in other non-agricultural settings.
The ban “is needed to prevent the significant harm this pesticide causes children, farm workers, and vulnerable communities,” Jared Blumenfeld, secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA), said in a statement. California’s ban comes as federal regulators fight to keep the chemical on the market. Almost two decades ago, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which regulates pesticides at the federal level, prohibited the sale of chlorpyrifos for residential use.

Some states aren’t waiting for the federal government to act, California Healthline reported last month. The New York legislature last week sent a proposed ban to Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo for consideration. A bill in the California legislature to ban chlorpyrifos was pending at the time of the CalEPA’s announcement. Oregon and Connecticut lawmakers also are considering bans.

Hawaii was the first state to enact a state ban last year.

“Because the science is pretty clear that this a dangerous chemical, it’s long past time to get it off the market,” said Virginia Ruiz, director of occupational and environmental health at the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Farmworker Justice. “There’s momentum now, and people and policymakers are becoming better educated about chlorpyrifos.”

Chlorpyrifos can be inhaled during application and as it drifts into nearby areas or ingested as residue on food. People also can be exposed through drinking water if their wells have been contaminated by it.
Globally, several companies make chlorpyrifos products. In the U.S., the most recognized brand names are Dursban and Lorsban, manufactured by Corteva Agriscience, formerly known as Dow AgroSciences.
Corteva Agriscience did not respond to requests for comment.
California citrus growers are among the groups that oppose the ban. They worry that eliminating chlorpyrifos could result in disease outbreaks among their fruit trees.
Casey Creamer, president of California Citrus Mutual, pointed to the Asian citrus psyllid, a tiny insect that feeds on citrus leaves that can transmit a disease known as Huanglongbing, or citrus greening, as one risk.
The task to defeat HLB may be made easier by Trained dogs actually smelling the bacteria within a few weeks after infection, Tim Gottwald, a U.S. Department of Agriculture plant pathologist, said during a presentation at the Riverside conference. In Florida they’ve been 99% accurate, and in tests in December and February under challenging conditions (such as distractions from homeowners’ dogs) in Southern California backyards, they were right more than 92% of the time, he added.

If the canines are right, HLB may be more widespread than standard tests show. Two years ago, the dogs signaled infections in 72 trees at UC Riverside and in four trees in two commercial groves in Kern County. The trees continue to appear negative on molecular tests, but this method typically lags infection. Some California scientists maintain, and hope, that the dogs are wrong, perhaps because they’re smelling something else in the trees, but only time will tell. Now researchers and farmers are racing to fend off the disease. This month, more than 500 scientists from around the world gathered in Riverside at the sixth International Research Conference on Huanglongbing, meeting in California for the first time. Their findings show that although the disease is spreading rapidly in the Southland and no breakthrough is imminent, a host of new detection methods and strategies could help California avert the kind of disaster that destroyed almost three-quarters of Florida’s citrus production.
Huanglongbing originated in Asia a century or more ago. It is caused by a bacterium, Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus, transmitted by a tiny insect, the Asian citrus psyllid, which feeds on young citrus leaves. HLB clogs citrus trees' phloem, a vascular tissue that transports sugar from the leaves; this causes the most symptomatic fruit to become small and bitter, and eventually makes trees unproductive or kills them.

Candidatisus a budding yeast-like fungus, carries by the insect, the tiny  Asian citrus psyllid, which feeds on young citrus leaves. 

“The impacts are potentially significant,” he said. If farmers “don’t have the tools to effectively manage the psyllid, people are going to switch out or stop growing citrus.”
The agency added that its decision to ban chlorpyrifos “follows mounting evidence… that the pesticide causes serious health effects in children and other sensitive populations,” even at low levels of exposure.
The California Farm Bureau Federation warned that food may get pricier as a result of the ban, leaving state residents more dependent on produce grown in states with less stringent regulations.
The group most at risk are immigrant farmworkers, who are exposed as an occupational hazard. These workers bring home the pesticide on their clothing and skin which is contaminated.  This places their children and families at risk.

State Bans Pesticide Linked To Developmental Problems | California Healthline: 

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