At the beginning of the month, Hawaii made history by becoming the first state in the U.S. to ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos. The highly toxic neurotoxin causes significant damage to brain development in children and under the Obama administration the EPA had pledged to ban its use in agriculture ( the Pruitt-led EPA under the current administration reversed this pledge).
“The bill, SB3095, is a significant first step in protecting public health from pesticide harms for the State of Hawaii. In addition to banning chlorpyrifos, SB3095 requires all users of Restricted Use Pesticides (RUPs) to report usage of these pesticides, and mandates minimum 100-foot no-spray zones for RUPs around schools during school hours.”1
The mandatory reporting and no-spray zone provisions are effective immediately with no exemptions.
(As always I am not intending to make a political statement with the video below. It is merely an explanation of the chemical and what has transpired.)
Sylvia Wu, an attorney for the public interest group Center for Food Safety, said about the ban: “Today the Hawaii State Legislature finally heard the voice of its people. 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.”2
The world’s largest agrichemical companies (think Monsanto, Dow, and Syngenta) routinely experiment and develop their GM crops in Hawaii. And given that nearly every single crop is engineered to resist herbicides and pesticides, Hawaiians are repeatedly sprayed with dangerous chemicals (totaling thousands of gallons and pounds each year). Many of these operations are even next to schools and residential areas.
Hawaiian residents have repeatedly demanded protection from these dangerous chemicals and the passage of SB 3095 marks a turning point for the state.
The bill goes into effect this July and will ban chlorpyrifos by January 2019. Anyone who wishes to continue using chlorpyrifos needs to apply for an exemption with the State but no exemptions will be granted after 2022.