Hawaii has become the first state to ban the toxic pesticide, Chlorpyrifos, from its fields. Chlorpyrifos has been proven to be a highly toxic neurotoxin that causes brain damage, particularly in the developing brains of children. During President Obama’s presidency, the EPA proposed that the toxin be banned in all agricultural uses, but the EPA has recently reversed this course of action. Hawaii’s move to ban the pesticide is the first significant step towards protecting the public form this harmful chemical.
In addition, this new bill requires that any users of Restricted Use Pesticides (RUPs) report their usage, and mandates that at least a 100-foot no-spray zone is used spraying around schools during school hours.
In addition to banning Chlorpyrifos, SB3095 requires all users of Restricted Use Pesticides (RUPs) to report usage of these pesticides, and mandates a minimum 100-foot no-spray zone for RUPs being sprayed around schools during school hours. Initially, the bill only called for certain school areas to become no-spray zones, but was eventually expanded to ban the pesticide outright in school areas.
Sylvia Wu, attorney for the public interest group Center for Food Safety, believes that this law is the first stepping-stone for stronger legislation in all states. Hawaii is also taking action against Pruitt’s EPA by listening to its citizens and fighting for the protection of their food and environment.
“By taking the first step towards pesticide policies that will provide for more protection for children as well as more transparency, the Hawai'i State Legislature is acknowledging that it must protect its residents from the harmful effects of agricultural pesticide use,” said Wu.
Since some of the largest agrichemical companies, such as Monsanto, Dow, and Syngenta, grow and test their chemically engineered crops in Hawaii in school areas, the students in these schools are commonly exposed to pesticides on a regular basis. Studies show that these companies spray thousands of gallons of pesticides on their crops annually, within miles of young students attending schools nearby.
The bill goes into effect in July 2018, with the Chlorpyrifos ban taking effect by January 2019. Anyone who wishes to continue using the pesticides must apply through the state for an exemption, with no exemptions being granted after 2022. The mandatory reporting and no-spray zone provisions are effectively immediately with no exemptions.
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