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Rep. Gabbard Supports Chlorpyrifos Ban

January 11, 2019, 8:43 AM HST (Updated January 11, 2019, 8:43 AM)
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Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawai‘i-02) announced on Jan. 11, 2019, that she supports legislation to re-ban the use and stockpile of a toxic pesticide, chlorpyrifos (CPY), to protect our environment and the health of our people.

The dangerous pesticide has been linked to damaging and often irreversible health outcomes in workers, pregnant women and children, Rep. Gabbard’s press release stated. In addition to numerous harmful effects on human health, the chemical also creates severe learning and memory deficits in honey bees—potentially jeopardizing a critical pollinator and the health of ecosystems in Hawai‘i and across the country.

In March 2017, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt reversed an existing ban on the use of chlorpyrifos that was put in place by the Obama Administration. On Kaua‘, after Syngenta Hawaii exposed dozens of workers to CPY in 2016 and 2017, Syngenta opted to pay a fine of $150,000 and spend $400,000 on worker protection training sessions—a small fraction of the more than $4.8 million the EPA was originally seeking.

Last year, Hawai‘i became the first state in the country to ban pesticides containing chlorpyrifos.

“The people of Kaua‘i suffered the painful consequences of chlorpyrifos being used in our community, where dozens of workers were hospitalized from exposure to this dangerous pesticide,” Rep. Gabbard said. “We cannot put a price tag on the health and lives of our people. The use of chlorpyrifos puts the health and well-being of our keiki, expecting mothers, field workers, agricultural communities, and our ‘āina and wai at risk. We must build on progress made in Hawai‘i and keep this toxic chemical out of our air, food and water, and hold industrial agri-businesses accountable for endangering our people and our planet.”

The Ban Toxic Pesticides Act would ban chlorpyrifos by canceling current EPA registration and prohibiting future registration of pesticides that contain chlorpyrifos. Congresswoman Gabbard has also championed integrated pest management techniques and biocontrol solutions as alternative pathways to reduce chemical applications for controlling noxious weed and pest impacts on agriculture and the environment.

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