Public Pressure Works: California Bans a Harmful Pesticide
The great thing about America is that we the people have the ultimate power. We can use our vote to kick out corrupt politicians and we can use our dollars to vote against unsafe products and create a better world for ourselves and our kids.
Over recent decades, we have passed hundreds of laws and wonderful protective regulations—from reducing air pollution and banning hormone-bending phthalates from teething toys to removing lead from paint and gasoline—to keep your family safe and healthy.
But, the fights are far from over.
We need to keep our water pure, stop using our precious antibiotics to make chicken and pigs a little fatter, and have to get toxic chemicals out of cosmetics, cleaning products…and our food!
Here’s a case in point: The common pesticide chlorpyrifos, used to kill bugs on strawberries, cauliflower, citrus and other crops, is a known neurotoxin, meaning it works by poisoning an insect’s nervous system. Not surprising, there is very worrisome evidence that it can also damage children’s brains.
Got your attention?
Chlorpyrifos blocks an enzyme that sends important messages from the brain to the body. When that occurs, the bug dies. This chemical is an industry favorite, sprayed on our food, parks, and golf courses since 1965.
Studies—where our kids are the guinea pigs—have indicated that children exposed to chlorpyrifos in their homes and from the food they eat show a higher risk of developmental delay and attention deficit disorder.
For decades, scientists have been fighting for years to have chlorpyrifos banned. They’ve collected substantial evidence that chlorpyrifos is a real danger to our families, farmers, and wildlife.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) said that a safe exposure level for chlorpyrifos does not exist!
The Environmental Protection Agency under President Obama was close to a national ban on this bad news chemical. But in 2016, the Trump Administration slammed on the brakes, saying, The chemical companies want a few more years to…um, do more “research.”
But, is it right to wait decades while chemical companies drag their feet doing new studies? With their massive conflicts of interest, should they even be trusted to do studies?
Here’s the big mistake the government has made, people are innocent until proven guilty, but chemicals are guilty until proven innocent. It can’t be any other way! It is our solemn responsibility to block the release of chemicals that might cause irreparable harm BEFORE allowing men, women, and children— the young, the old and the pregnant—to be exposed.
It’s hard fighting the powerful lobbyists of chemical companies and huge factory farms, but two major victories just happened…and we should all get up and cheer!
First, thank you, California! A new ban in the Golden State stops farmers from buying more chlorpyrifos. They have just until the end of 2020 to use up what’s on hand. California joins Hawaii as the second state outlawing the chemical (Hawaii banned it in 2018), and New York is pushing for protective regulations to stop chlorpyrifos in 2021.
Second, thank you Corveta! The same day the California ban went into effect, Corveta—the company that makes this brain damaging pesticide—said they will stop making chlorpyrifos at the end of the year. They’ve had to call it quits because of shrinking demand and withering sales.
This is a huge win for children and families across the country!
However, millions of pounds of chlorpyrifos made this year will still end up being sprayed on our food. The best way to avoid contact with pesticides is to eat organic produce. It’s smart to wash produce before cooking or eating it, but some chemicals—chlorpyrifos being one—have to be totally avoided because they penetrate into the flesh of the fruits and veggies.
To learn more about pesticides and produce, take a look at the Environmental Working Group’s Pesticides Guide. (Disclaimer: My wife and Happiest Baby co-founder, Nina, and I are both on the EWG board of directors.)
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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.