Hawaii Becomes First State to Ban Neurotoxin, Chlorpyrifos

Hawaii’s governor David Ige recently signed a bill restricting pesticide use within 100 feet of schools and banning chlorpyrifos outright by 2023. Chlorpyrifos, used widely in conventional agriculture, is a neurotoxin that impacts children and their cognitive development. The ban on Chlorpyrifos is not federal law. Hawaii is the first state in the nation to ban the use of the harmful pesticide.
Senator Russell Ruderman, introduced the bill, which appropriates 300-thousand dollars for a pesticide drift monitoring study by the state Department of Agriculture.
“The disclosure of the chemicals used is a very important step so that we can begin to have scientific analyses of health effects of pesticides.  And also the buffer zones around schools.  You know, we work to keep guns out of schools and predators out of schools, it ought to be a no brainer to keep poisonous chemicals out of schools, too.  I’m surprised it was such a fight but it’s my hope this is just the first step.”
Ruderman says it was a 5 year effort to get a bill passed.  Former State Senator and Kaua’i County Councilmember, Gary Hooser, says 5 years is too long.
“We’re dealing with some of the biggest corporations in the world, here, and with lots of resources to push back, to stall, to delay.  You know, the Governor recognizes the value of food security and recognizes that we need to keep our farms strong.  But, we also need to keep the health of the community strong, as well.  And, there’s a difference between industrial agriculture that really feeds no one, and local family farms that feed us.”
Governor David Ige, says the state has the authority to ban pesticides up front and he intends to resurrect the group that oversees their use.
“The state has had a pesticide advisory committee in the books for many, many years, and it’s become dormant and inactive and we’ll be activating that.  It’s made up of expert scientists in the field that will help us sort through the reports and the studies that have been filed at the federal level.”
The use of Chlorpyrifos is not allowed in organic agriculture.
Article adapted from Cornucopia.org.

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