California is leading the country once again in another groundbreaking environmental decision–to ban virtually all uses of the pesticide chlorpyrifos, which is linked to learning disabilities in children. Even if you are not from California, this decision is likely to make a positive impact on the amount of chlorpyrifos inside your body. You’ve trusted Mamavation to bring you topics like best non-toxic coffee creamers, best organic mattresses, & best probiotics, now let’s explore what new pesticide restriction California has created and how that will affect your dinner plate.
Chlorpyrifos–The Organophosphate Neurological Brain Damage Pesticide
Chlorpyrifos is a widely used insecticide in California. It’s considered an organophosphate compound that inhibits the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE) which is critical for neurological functions. Chlorpyrifos blocks an enzyme that stops nerve cells from firing without stopping. If the enzyme is blocked, the nerves don’t send normal signals, and the nervous system fails. This makes it very effective in killing pests.
Presently, it’s used in agriculture on a variety of crops like alfalfa, almonds, citrus, cotton, grapes, apples, broccoli, peaches, nectarines, berries, melons, and walnuts. It’s also used on golf courses, to control public health pests like fire ants & mosquitos, to treat wood fences, and treat utility poles.
According to the National Pesticide Information Center,
- Exposure to small amounts of chlorpyrifos can cause drooling, runny nose, tears, and increased saliva. Some people develop a headache, sweating, nausea, and dizziness.
- More serious exposures can cause vomiting, abdominal muscle cramps, muscle twitching, tremors and weakness, and loss of coordination, diarrhea, blurred, darkened vision, unconsciousness, loss of bladder and bowel control, convulsions, difficulty in breathing, and paralysis.
- Studies have found children who had chlorpyrifos in their blood had more developmental delays and disorders than children who did not have chlorpyrifos in their blood. Exposed children also had more attention deficit disorders and hyperactivity disorders.
According to the California Environmental Protection Agency, most farmers have already started using alternatives. But not all of them because testing on my own body came up positive for chlorpyrifos pesticides just a couple of years ago. I live in Ventura County which you will read further on as being one of the largest strawberry & raspberry producers in the state.
California–The Salad Bowl of the United States
California is known as the “salad bowl” of the United States because it produces more “specialty crops” than any other state. Specialty crops aren’t really that special. They are things that would go in your salad bowl like spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, green onions, bell peppers, & cucumbers. But in addition to that, specialty crops also contain fruits and tree nuts, herbs and spices, nursery & flowers. California produces more than 400 different commodity crops, most of which are specialty crops.
Top 3 Agricultural Commodities by County in California
According to the California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom, these are all the California counties broken down by their top three commodities. It’s very evident that California’s ban is going to impact families all over the United States because of the number of crops that will no longer be using this pesticide.
- Alameda County: Cattle & Calves, Grapes, Woody Ornamentals
- Alpine County: Pasture & Range, Cattle, Hay
- Amador County: Grapes, Cattle & Calves, Pasture & Range
- Butte County: Walnuts, Almonds, Rice
- Calaveras County: Cattle & Calves, Poultry, Pasture & Range
- Colusa County: Almonds, Rice, Tomatoes
- Contra Costa County: Cattle & Calves, Corn, Tomatoes
- Del Norte County: Cattle, Milk, Nursery
- El Dorado County: Apples, Cattle & Calves, Grapes
- Fresno County: Almonds, Poultry, Grapes
- Glenn County: Almonds, Walnuts, Rice
- Humboldt County: Cattle & Calves, Nursery Products, Milk
- Imperial County: Cattle & Calves, Alfalfa Hay, Onions
- Inyo County: Cattle, Alfalfa Hay, Nursery Products
- Kern County: Almonds, Grapes, Milk
- Kings County: Milk, Cattle & Calves, Almonds
- Lake County: Grapes, Pears, Walnuts
- Lassen County: Alfalfa Hay, Hay-other, Vegetables
- Los Angeles County: Vegetables, Wood Ornamentals, Onions
- Madera County: Almonds, Milk, Pistachios
- Marin County: Milk, Almonds, Chickens
- Mariposa County: Cattle & Calves, Pasture & Range, Livestock Products
- Mendocino County: Grapes, Pears, Cattle & Calves
- Merced County: Milk, Almonds, Chickens
- Modoc County: Alfalfa Hay, Cattle & Calves, Potatoes
- Mono County: Cattle & Calves, Alfalfa Hay, Pasture
- Monterey County: Strawberries, Lettuce, Broccoli
- Napa County: Grapes, Nursery Products, Cattle & Calves
- Nevada County: Heifers, Milk Cows, Pasture & Range
- Orange County: Nursery Products, Strawberries, Vegetables
- Placer County: Rice, Cattle & Calves, Nursery Products
- Plumas County: Cattle, Pasture, Alfalfa Hay
- Riverside County: Milk, Grapes, Nursery Products
- Sacramento County: Grapes, Milk, Pears
- San Benito County: Vegetables, Lettuce, Spinach
- San Bernardino County: Milk, Eggs, Cattle & Calves
- San Diego County: Woody Ornamentals, Flowers, Nursery Plants
- San Francisco County: Field Crops, Apiary Products
- San Joaquin County: Almonds, Milk, Grapes
- San Luis Obispo County: Strawberries, Grapes, Vegetables
- San Mateo County: Nursery Plants, Brussels Sprouts, Nursery Products
- Santa Barbara County: Strawberries, Broccoli, Vegetables
- Santa Clara County: Mushrooms, Nursery Products, Bell Peppers
- Santa Cruz County: Strawberries, Raspberries, Nursery Products
- Shasta County: Hay, Cattle, Forest Products
- Sierra County: Cattle, Pasture, Alfalfa Hay
- Siskiyou County: Nursery Plants, Alfalfa Hay, Cattle
- Solano County: Tomatoes, Vegetables, Walnuts
- Sonoma County: Grapes, Milk, Livestock
- Stanislaus County: Almonds, Milk, Chickens
- Sutter County: Rice, Walnuts, Plums
- Tehama County: Walnuts, Almonds, Plums
- Trinity County: Timber, Firewood, Cattle & Calves
- Tulare County: Milk, Cattle & Calves, Oranges
- Tuolumne County: Livestock, Cattle & Calves, Pasture & Range
- Ventura County: Strawberries, Lemons, Raspberries
- Yolo County: Tomatoes, Almonds, Grapes
- Yuba County: Walnuts, Rice, Plums
California Pressures Pesticide Companies & Outcome is Voluntary Ban of Chlorpyrifos
The California Environmental Protection Agency announced this week that virtually all use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos in California will end by February 2020. The agreement was with the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) and pesticide manufacturers Dow AgroSciences & others to withdraw their products.
“For years, environmental justice advocates have fought to get the harmful pesticide chlorpyrifos out of our communities,” said California Governor Gavin Newsom. “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.”
The final agreement with Dow AgroSciences and other companies saved Californians two years of the rulemaking process with procedural administrative hearings & appeals. This means that use of chlorpyrifos will end sooner than anticipated. Under the settlement, the companies agreed that:
- All sales of chlorpyrifos products to growers in California will end on Feb. 6, 2020.
- Growers will no longer be allowed to possess or use chlorpyrifos products in California after Dec. 31, 2020. (So they have a year to get rid of their product and will likely do that all year so go organic!)
- Until then, all uses must comply with existing restrictions, including a ban on aerial spraying, quarter-mile buffer zones and limiting use to crop-pest combinations that lack alternatives.
How California’s New Restriction on Chlorpyrifos Will Benefit Everyone
Because California is the salad bowl of the United States and the largest user of chlorpyrifos pesticides nationwide, by 2021 (when farmers can no longer use up any more extra pesticide they had) California specialty crops could be cleaner than other states. California produces crops that reach every state, so everyone will be impacted by this. This is great news for everyone across the country. And because California is such a trendsetter when it comes to environmental laws, other states may start to follow suit.