Farming expert Tommy Harwood delves into the state of California’s upcoming ban on the widely used pesticide known as chlorpyrifos
Widely used in farming across California, under a new agreement reached between the state and manufacturers of the pesticide, sales of chlorpyrifos will cease early in 2020. With links now made between chlorpyrifos and serious health problems-including brain damage-in children, farming expert Tommy Harwood offers a closer look at the ban, set to come into place during the first week of February next year.
“Effective as of February 6, 2020, chlorpyrifos will be banned in the state of California,” explains Harwood, a farming expert and entrepreneur based in southern Humboldt County.
Citing links between the popular and widely used pesticide and serious health problems, chlorpyrifos was declared a restricted material in 2015. “Since then, chlorpyrifos has required a county permit to use,” reveals Harwood, “with California responsible for using as much as a quarter of all chlorpyrifos employed in the U.S.”
Last year, however, the pesticide was further declared a toxic air contaminant, according to the farming expert. “In light of this, chlorpyrifos will now be banned in the state of California,” Harwood adds.
Chlorpyrifos is used across California to control pests on crops such as almonds, citrus, grapes, walnuts, cotton, and alfalfa. Despite the efficacy of the chemical, significant links have been made between chlorpyrifos and serious health problems in children, including brain damage. Accordingly, New York and Hawaii, too, are both in the process of banning the pesticide.
The California ban on chlorpyrifos has been heralded as ‘a big win’ by environmental justice advocates and Governor Gavin Newsom alike. “For years, environmental justice advocates have fought to get the harmful pesticide chlorpyrifos out of our communities,” said Governor Newsom in a statement. “Thanks to their tenacity and the work of countless others,” he continues, “this will now occur faster than originally envisioned.”
“This is a big win,” adds the Governor, “for children, workers, and public health in California.”
The ban forms part of an agreement between pesticide manufacturers and California’s pesticide regulation department. “Following the ban which comes into place in February, California has promised a total of more than $5.5 million in grants,” adds farming expert Tommy Harwood, wrapping up, “to assist pesticide manufacturers in developing one or more safer alternatives to chlorpyrifos for use in the future.”
Entrepreneur Tommy Harwood, of Whitethorn, California, is the founder of Southern Humboldt Farm, Feed and Ag Supply, Inc., now known as Redway Feed, Garden & Pet Supply. Harwood is deeply invested in community outreach programs in the census-designated area of Redwood and across much of southern Humboldt County, where he now both lives and works. Alongside Redway Feed, Garden & Pet Supply, Harwood’s other business ventures include garden supply retailer Crop King, and business management services firm Good Elements, Inc.