California regulators will soon announce restrictions on chlorpyrifos usage
On Thursday, the California officials reported that they will take steps to restrict the use of chlorpyrifos, an insecticide that is widely sprayed on most of the state's crops. The regulators are not going in for a full ban on the use of this pesticide, instead they are planning to propose heavy restrictions on its use so as to ensure a controlled spread of the pesticide.
Chlorpyrifos has been in use since 1965 and has reportedly sickened dozens of farm workers in the recent years. Not only this, the traces of this pesticide can be found in the waterways, thereby threatening fish. Regulators believe that an overuse could make targeted insects immune to the pesticide.
Brian Leahy, Director of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, said, "We've come up with a clear idea of when it's really needed and what are the alternatives. We want to preserve this tool for when you really need it".
Every year up to 2 million pounds of Chlorpyrifos is sprayed in California. It is sprayed to treat many cash crops like grapes and almonds. This pesticide is also sprayed on 60 different crops, which also include alfalfa, walnuts, oranges and cotton. So, putting restrictions on its use has already attracted opposition from farmers.
Joel Nelson, President of the California Citrus Mutual, said that because somebody misused the pesticide, everybody shouldn't be punished with restrictions. He added that the regulators in Sacramento want to apply a "broad- brush approach," which isn't right.
He also said that alternatives pesticides exist, but he said they're not as effective as Chlorpyrifos and they are more expensive, so the application of such restrictions will not only affect the crops but will also increase the investment cost for farmers.
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