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Hawaii First to Ban Dangerous Chlorpyrifos Pesticide

If signed by Gov. Ige, the new law will take effect in July 2018 with a complete ban on chlorpyrifos by January 2019.

In a sweeping action, the Hawaii state legislature moved to completely ban all pesticides that contain a chemical known to cause birth defects. Currently awaiting signature by Governor David Ige, the bill also creates usage, reporting, and location requirements for agricultural businesses that utilize 35 or more pounds or gallons of restricted-use pesticides in a year. The bill includes the following proposals:

  • Restricted-use pesticide users must report the substance used, the amount, and location
  • A buffer zone within 100 feet of school properties
  • A complete ban on all pesticides that contain chlorpyrifos

The Dangers in Chlorpyrifos

Chlorpyrifos is a chemical component of pesticides that is widely used in commercial farming because it is cheap to make. Pesticides that contain neurotoxins such as chlorpyrifos are known to cause birth defects in unborn children when their parents are exposed. As such, hundreds of Hawaiian residents wrote to the state House to voice their support for the bill in a form letter stating, “we need mandatory disclosure and notification, along with pilot programs for buffer zones and drift studies around schools,” according to a report by the Hawaii Tribune-Herald.

The letter signed by residents states that “additional studies on pesticide drift are meaningless without knowledge of what pesticides were and are being applied.” This only goes to amplify the importance of full disclosure regarding the pesticides sprayed. When the wind blows these toxic pesticides, people nearby are in danger of direct exposure. Furthermore, the American Academy of Pediatrics states that there is evidence of an association between early exposure to pesticides and a number of adverse effects, including cancers, as well as decreased cognitive function and birth defects.

As of May 3, the Senate and the House both passed SB 3095 and it has been enrolled to Hawaii’s Governor David Ige for signature. If signed into law, it will go into effect on January 1, 2019, making Hawaii the first state in the country to ban chlorpyrifos.