Hawaii bans toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos, protects public health

The bill, SB3095, completely bans the use of chlorpyrifos, a highly toxic neurotoxin that causes significant damage to brain development in children.

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Hawaii made history on Tuesday. It became the first state to ban the pesticide, chlorpyrifos, which has detrimental health effects, as way to protect public health from such toxins.

Because Hawaii is agrichemical companies’ experiment and development ground for genetically engineered crops, which are engineered to be herbicide and pesticide resistant, data shows that companies such as Monsanto and Dow and Syngenta apply thousands of gallons and pounds of Restricted Use Pesticides (RUPs) each year.

The bill, SB3095, completely bans the use of chlorpyrifos, a highly toxic neurotoxin that causes significant damage to brain development in children, classified by the Center for Food Safety, as well as requires the use of RUPs be reported. The bill also “mandates minimum 100-foot no-spray zones for RUPs around schools during school hours,” the Center for Food Safety reported. Public testimonies, which pressured the state government to introduce better health protections against pesticides, led to the “no-spray zones around schools” and “mandatory disclosure” of RUPs usage.

“Today the Hawaii State Legislature finally heard the voice of its people,” Sylvia Wu, attorney for the Center for Food Safety and advocate for regulated pesticide use in Hawaii, said. “By banning the toxic pesticide, chlorpyrifos, Hawaii is taking action that Pruitt’s EPA refused to take and by taking the first step towards pesticide policies that will provide for more protection for children as well as more transparency, the Hawai’i State Legislature is acknowledging that it must protect its residents from the harmful effects of agricultural pesticide use.”

Under the Obama administration a proposal to ban chlorpyrifos from all agricultural use was introduced, but was eventually reversed under the direction of Scott Pruitt, EPA director, and the Trump administration.

“There is much to celebrate,” Gary Hooser, president of the public interest group Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action (HAPA), said. “This was a compromise in which everyone’s voice was heard, and most importantly, the community’s well-founded fears about their health were addressed. Our families have some much-needed protections against chemicals that we know are harming their health.”

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Ashley is an editor, social media content manager and writer at NationofChange. Before joining NoC, she was a features reporter at The Daily Breeze – a local newspaper in Southern California – writing a variety of stories on current topics including politics, the economy, human rights, the environment and the arts. Ashley is a transplant from the East Coast calling Los Angeles home.

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