U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz introduced today a bill to ban chlorpyrifos, a pesticide considered hazardous to human health, near schools in 2019, followed by a ban of its sale and distribution the following year.
The Prohibit Chlorpyrifos Poisoning Students Act would take Hawaii’s state ban to the national level, according to Schtaz. It would amend the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act to prohibit the use of pesticides containing chlorpyrifos, as well as require pre- and post-application reporting, and establish buffer zones, for restricted use pesticides.
“My bill would take Hawaii’s state ban nationwide, so all of our children are protected no matter where they live or go to school,” said Schatz in a news release.
This year, Hawaii became the first state in the U.S. to ban pesticides containing chlorpyrifos, a chemical linked to disruptions in the brain development of babies and young children after years of advocacy by local environmental groups. Gov. David Ige signed the measure into law in June, and a statewide ban takes effect Jan. 1, although the state Agriculture Department has the authority to exempt agricultural businesses through Dec. 31, 2022.
Two months after Hawaii’s bill became law, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to ban the sale of chlorpyrifos in the nation. The EPA is contesting the ruling.
Schatz’s bill was praised by Earthjustice’s Healthy Communities Program and the Healthy Children Project at the Learning Disabilities Association of America.
“Earthjustice commends Senator Schatz for his efforts to craft legislation to protect children, farmworkers and families from some of the most toxic pesticides in the United States,” said Andrea Delgado, Legislative Director of the Healthy Communities Program at Earthjustice in a statement. “This proposal would ban chlorpyrifos – a dangerous pesticide known to damage our children’s developing brains – and establish new, sensible safeguards that prevent the spraying of toxic pesticides near schools, while requiring transparency and notification about the use of pesticides in our communities. It’s an important step forward for the health of all people, especially farmworkers and people in agricultural communities who bear the brunt of exposure to pesticide applications.”
Chlorpyrifos, used on golf courses and farms to control pests, was banned in homes in 2000 because of the toxic threat it presents, especially to children. A 2016 assessment by the EPA found unsafe levels of the chemical in the air at schools, homes, and agricultural communities.