Lawmakers Reach Agreement on Controlling Pesticide Use

April 28, 2018, 12:28 PM HST (Updated April 28, 2018, 12:30 PM)
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The Hawai‘i House of Representatives announces that for years lawmakers have tried and failed to pass legislation to regulate the use of pesticides. On Friday, April 27, 2018, House and Senate conferees agreed on Senate Bill 3095 SD1 HD1 CD1 which restricts pesticide use near schools, bans some pesticides completely and expands outreach for the proper use of pesticides.

Parents have rallied across the state in opposition to pesticide use, especially near schools. Children exposed to the pesticide chlorpyrifos have suffered serious health issues.

Representative Richard P. Creagan said there is no safe use for the pesticide chlorpyrifos and with other nations already prohibiting its use to protect the public, now is the time to pass this bill.

“This bill is an important statement by our state, that has national implications,” said Agriculture Committee Chair Creagan (Naʻālehu, Ocean View, Capt. Cook, Kealakekua, Kailua-Kona). “It will bring attention to the risk to pregnant women from chlorpyrifos. It will also send a message to the 100 countries still using chlorpyrifos that tens of millions of their babies and children’s brains are at risk and show them how to reduce that risk.”

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Chlorpyrifos kills as many as 10,000 people annually around the world. Its use is already prohibited in Europe and other places. In 2000, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency prohibited the residential use of chlorpyrifos but did not issue an outright ban. With this measure, Hawai‘i becomes the first state to prohibit the use of the substance to protect public health.

Representative Chris Lee said there is no safe use for the pesticide chlorpyrifos and with the lack of federal regulations, now is the time to pass this bill.

In 2000, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency removed residential uses from the market but did not issue an outright ban. Other states have tried to ban chlorpyrifos, but failed. With this measure, Hawai‘i becomes the first state to completely ban the substance.

“With a lack of federal leadership on this issue, we needed to pass this bill to protect our children and families from possible negative effects of chemical pesticides,” said House conference committee co-chair Lee (Kailua, Waimānalo). “With careful regulation we can still allow some agricultural businesses to use some pesticides on their farms and away from schools.”

The bill would:

  1. Place a prohibition on use of pesticides within 100 feet of a school during instructional hours. “School” is defined as any public or private kindergarten, elementary, or secondary school, excluding home schools and “normal hours” are from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  2. Totally ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos effective Jan 1, 2019. The Department of Agriculture is authorized to issue exemptions through Dec. 31, 2022 to allow agricultural businesses time to adjust to the ban.
  3. Provide a $300,000 appropriation from Pesticides Revolving Fund to effectuate the measure, including expenses for staffing, education, and outreach.
  4. Provide a $300,000 appropriation from general revenues to develop a pesticide drift monitoring study to evaluate pesticide drift at three schools within the state.
  5. Require commercial agricultural entities to regularly report their pesticide use.

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