Growers and other users will be asked to increase the buffer zone between fields where they spray the pesticide and inhabited areas such as homes and schools, the state Environmental Protection Agency recently announced.
The agency will proceed with plans to list the chemical, chlorpyrifos, as a known hazard to humans, under Proposition 65. The agency also updated its scientific assessment of the chemical, which has been linked to birth defects and reproductive maladies.
“While chlorpyrifos has been protecting crops for more than 50 years, new information in the scientific community leads us to believe the level of risk it poses is greater than previously known,” said state EPA Secretary Matthew Rodriquez. “We need to better understand the science to ensure our actions protect public health.”
California growers in 2015 used more than 1 million pounds of the chemical on more than 60 crops, including almonds, grapes, walnuts, oranges and cotton, according to the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, part of the state EPA. Use has declined by about half from 2005 to 2015, the last year for which data were available.
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