Chlorpyrifos is a part of a class of pesticides called organophosphates, commonly used on citrus fruits, apples and other crops. High exposure to these chemicals can cause serious illness including respiratory paralysis and death. This bill prohibits any use of chlorpyrifos.
There is a robust body of evidence suggesting that even low levels of organophosphates like chlorpyrifos present serious health impacts for humans, especially children. Scientific research has shown that chlorpyrifos can harm the development of nervous systems of infants and young children. Prenatal exposure to organophosphates can result in diminished cognitive ability, delays in motor development and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
People can be exposed to chlorpyrifos by breathing in dust from nearby fields, ingesting residue found on fruits and vegetables, and by drinking water that has been contaminated. Chlorpyrifos has been found increasingly in rivers, lakes and surface waters, and therefore, contamination is a concern for drinking water. Because of this, Minnesota named the pesticide a chemical of concern, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stated that there are resulting “drinking water exposure concerns in small sensitive watersheds.”
The EPA ended nearly all uses of chlorpyrifos in 2001. In 2016, the EPA issued a revised human health risk assessment that represented the next step to banning the use of chlorpyrifos on food. In 2017, the Trump administration indicated that it does not intend to follow the scientific finding from 2016 and will not be further restricting the use of chlorpyrifos.
EPA has clearly abdicated its responsibility in regulating dangerous chemicals, and the State needs to fill this vacuum to protect New Yorkers and our environment. To date the Department of Environmental Conservation has not exercised its existing authority under the Environmental Conservation Law to enact a ban. It is critically important for the Legislature to act.
This bill amends the Environmental Conservation Law to prohibit any person from using the pesticide chlorpyrifos in the state.