Health warnings grow for agricultural pesticide chlorpyrifos

Dec 4, 2017

California’s list of chemicals harmful to humans is about the get longer. An agricultural pesticide widely used on the Central Coast is joining the ranks.  

After years of debate around the pesticide chlorpyrifos, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment voted to add the chemical to its Proposition 65 list of 900 substances causing cancer, birth defects and reproductive harm.

Allan Hirsch, the office's chief deputy director, said new findings about the chemical’s impact on fetal brain development contributed to the panel's decision.

“The panel was able to look at those, and look at the older studies, and they felt that all of the information from these studies taken together clearly showed that exposure to chlorpyrifos can harm the development of a child,” Hirsch said.

All Prop. 65 chemicals are subject to strict labeling requirements. Products containing chlorpyrifos will have to be appropriately labeled by late 2018.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency banned home consumer use of the pesticide in 2000, and ordered it no longer be used on tomato crops,  and on apple and grape crops in bloom.