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Pesticide that harms children’s brains could soon be listed as toxic in California

Jeff Vanuga

A group of nine scientists on California's Scientific Review Panel agreed that a pesticide used on more than 60 crops, grown in the Salinas Valley and around the state, should be listed as a toxic air contaminant.

The decision on chlorpyrifos comes a few months after the US Environmental Protection Agency decided not to ban the pesticide nationwide.

Miriam Rotkin-Ellman is a scientist with the Natural Resource Defense Council. She says this will force the California Department of Pesticide Regulation to take action on a chemical known to cause harm to children's brains.

"They must address the risk and make sure that Californians are protected and safe," Miriam Rotkin-Ellman said. "This could include and should include immediate suspension of this pesticide."

Around 900,000 pounds of the pesticide were used in California in 2016. Listing chlorpyrifos as a toxic air contaminant requires 45 days of public review, a formal hearing and then the department will decide if further restrictions are needed.

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