California Recommends Few Restrictions On Pesticide Linked To Brain Damage

Restrictions fall far short of what is necessary to protect children and communities


Greg Loarie, Earthjustice, (415) 217-2000

Today, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation recommended weak, temporary restrictions on the controversial, neurotoxic pesticide chlorpyrifos. The California restrictions direct county agriculture commissioners to prohibit the use of chlorpyrifos on certain crops and eliminate aerial spraying. But despite numerous calls from scientists, communities, and a federal appeals court to ban chlorpyrifos immediately, the new California restrictions allow most uses of the pesticide to continue.

Pre-natal exposures to chlorpyrifos are associated with lower birth weight, reduced IQ, loss of working memory, attention disorders, and delayed motor development. It is also acutely toxic to workers. A court of appeals ruled in August that Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency must ban chlorpyrifos within 60 days, based on strong scientific evidence that says this pesticide is unsafe for public health, and particularly harmful to children and farmworkers. The federal government is stalling the decision.

The following statement is from Greg Loarie, Earthjustice attorney:

“The recommended restrictions the California Department of Pesticide Regulation placed on chlorpyrifos today are weak and miss the mark. The science is overwhelming and irrefutable. Organophosphates like chlorpyrifos are simply too harmful to farmworkers, mothers, and children. As the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said in August, banning this nerve agent from our fruits and vegetables is the only way to protect vulnerable communities that suffer the impacts of pesticide exposure every day. California families deserve better.”

Learn more about chlorpyrifos.

Farmworkers harvest strawberries in Salinas, CA.
Farmworkers harvest strawberries in Salinas, CA. (Chris Jordan-Bloch / Earthjustice)

Additional Resources

About Earthjustice

Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people's health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.