California will ban the sale of a widely used agricultural pesticide that state officials say has been linked to brain damage in children.
The California Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday "virtually all use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos" in the state will end following an agreement reached with the pesticide's manufacturer. Under the deal, all sales of the pesticide in the state will end next February, and farmers will have until the end of 2020 to use up any supply they have left. The pesticide is used on numerous crops, including alfalfa, cotton, grapes and walnuts.
Chlorpyrifos was designated as a "toxic air contaminant" in 2018. State regulators determined the pesticide was harmful to people at even lower levels of exposure than previously believed. They also say the pesticide has been "associated with serious health effects in children ..., including impaired brain and neurological development."
Per the deal, the state will also set aside more than $5 million to help manufacturers develop a safer pesticide alternative.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom praised the deal, saying, "For years, environmental justice advocates have fought to get the harmful pesticide chlorpyrifos out of our communities. This is a big win for children, workers and public health in California."
The EPA had proposed a federal ban on the pesticide in 2015, but reversed course two years later.