Alternatives to Chlorpyrifos Work Group Is Making Pest Management Safer and More Sustainable

Alternatives to Chlorpyrifos Work Group Is Making Pest Management Safer and More Sustainable

How do we battle agricultural pests without putting our workers at toxic risk? A new California cross-sector group is working toward the answers.

A California cross-sector work group is tackling the question of safe and sustainable pest management, and its eliminating chlorpyrifos from the equation. The Alternatives to Chlorpyrifos Work Group will consist of experts from various interests including agriculture, California universities, environmental justice groups, farmworker health and safety organizations, and pesticide manufacturers, among others. It will begin its work later this month.

The goal of the Work Group? To develop short-term, practical solutions to move toward safer and more sustainable pest-management solutions, develop a five-year action plan to develop better tools and practices, and to execute this work between August 2019 and spring of 2020.

While increased safety measures are always pertinent to workers (especially those using chemicals), the toxicity of chlorpyrifos is mostly responsible for initiating this Work Group. Mounting evidence regarding chlorpyrifos’s health hazards align with the findings of the Scientific Review Panel on Toxic Air Contaminants. It states that chlorpyrifos has detrimental effects on brain and neurological development. The product, researchers are finding, is simply to hazardous for human use.

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) is sending notices to cancel chlorpyrifos product registrations to the product registrants because of the negative human health effects associated with the products’ use. Registrants are permitted fifteen days to request a public hearing with the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) with comments related to the cancellation notices of the product.

For the next several months, the Work Group will accept public input through three public workshops starting in January and electronic forms. Workshop dates will be announced at a later date, and the public can provide input via email at and sign up for updates about the Work Group at alternatives to chlorpyrifos list serve.

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