Beginning at the start of 2020, California will ban the sale of a popular agricultural pesticide, chlorpyrifos, that has been linked to brain damage and other health defects in children. It has already been banned in Hawaii.
Farmers will continue to be allowed to use the pesticide until the end of 2020, but will no longer be allowed to purchase the chemical. Chlorpyrifos is typically used on popular crops such as alfalfa, almonds, citrus, cotton, grapes, and walnuts.
According to EcoWatch, the state of California did agree to kick in $5.6 million to help pesticide manufacturers develop a safer alternative.
“For years, environmental justice advocates have fought to get the harmful pesticide chlorpyrifos out of our communities. Thanks to their tenacity and the work of countless others, this will now occur faster than originally envisioned. This is a big win for children, workers and public health in California,” says Governor Gavin Newsom.
Back in 2015, the Obama administration had proposed a federal ban on the aerial spray, but in 2017, the Trump administration took the possible ban off the table saying the effects are still unknown. The EPA now has until 2022 to review and analyze the safety of chlorpyrifos.
Last year the federal government’s top fisheries experts issued a report saying that the pesticide and two others — diazinon and malathion — were washing into streams and rivers and harming wildlife, such as endangered species of salmon, according to NPR.