Pesticides are designed to kill, and because they are not specific to one species, they are inherently toxic and have the potential cause tremendous health hazards to humans. With exposure risks that include anything from rashes and vomiting to cancer, seizures, and death, tightly regulating pesticides is critical to protect public health. This bill would hurt New Yorkers by repealing New York State’s pesticide laws.
Pesticides can be found in our air, soil, food, and water. Exposure, including low-level exposure over time, to pesticides can cause reproductive health problems, cancer, kidney and liver damage, endocrine disruption, and neurological disorders. Pesticides can be particularly harmful for children – researchers found that even low levels of exposure can lead to pediatric cancers, decreased cognitive functions, and behavioral problems.
The sponsor’s memorandum for this bill states that pesticide product registration in New York puts farmers at a disadvantage, when in fact; pesticide product registration are most needed to protect farmers and farm workers. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that as many as 10,000 to 20,000 farmworkers are poisoned by pesticides each year, and many others are exposed but experience less severe symptoms.
The bill defers all action on pesticides to the EPA; however, recent actions from the EPA indicate that the agency is uninterested in further regulating pesticides and chemicals. For example, despite strong scientific evidence, and the law, compelling action on chlorprifos, the EPA is refusing to ban chlorpyrifos, a chemical used in pesticides that is known to cause irreversible neurological damage in children. Under the Food Quality Protection Act, the EPA must ban a pesticide if it cannot be determined to be safe, particularly for children.
In the face of federal inaction on chemicals known to harm health, it is especially important states have strong laws and regulations for pesticides. This bill would set New York in the wrong direction on pesticides.
This bill amends the environmental conservation law to repeal titles within Article 33 and adds a new section to require New York State to be bound solely by laws and regulations for pesticides from the federal environmental protection agency.