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.