California’s Chlorpyrifos Recommendations Fail to Protect Children and Communities

SACRAMENTO —The California Department of Pesticide Regulation today issued new temporary recommendations for chlorpyrifos—a pesticide linked to learning disabilities in children—that will allow the toxic chemical to continue to be used on many crops grown in the state, putting children, farmworkers and rural communities at continued risk. California uses close to 20 percent of all chlorpyrifos used in the U.S.

A statement follows from Allison Johnson, Sustainable Food Policy Advocate at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC):

“The only way to protect our children from this toxic chemical is to ban it— and this doesn’t come close to doing that. These measures are temporary and will not eliminate much of the chlorpyrifos used on food grown in California communities and eaten by families across the country. With the Trump administration fighting tooth and nail to keep this dangerous pesticide in our food supply, we need our state leaders to protect us. California must recognize that there is no safe level of chlorpyrifos and get rid of it once and for all.”


NRDC has been fighting for more than a decade to get chlorpyrifos out of our food supply, petitioning EPA to ban it in 2007 with the Pesticide Action Network. EPA was finally on track to ban it at the end of 2016. Shortly after taking office, however, the Trump administration reversed course—allowing it to continue being sprayed all over numerous U.S. food crops, including kid favorites like apples, oranges and berries.

Significant science—including from EPA itself—shows that exposure to low levels of the pesticide in early life can lead to increased risk of learning disabilities, including reductions in IQ, developmental delay and ADHD.

Dow Chemical—the nation’s largest manufacturer of chlorpyrifos—has close ties to the President. Among other things, the company reportedly donated $1 million for Trump’s inauguration and its CEO previously played a chief advisory role to the president, heading up his now defunct American Manufacturing Council.

In the absence of EPA action, states can lead the way. In June, Hawaii became the first state to ban the chemical. And at the end of July, California released a scientific study reaffirming health concerns about the chemical and setting the stage for extensive restrictions. NRDC is urging the state to follow up by acting on the advice of its own experts and banning the chemical within its borders—a move that would not only protect state agricultural workers and communities, but people nationwide who consume fruit, veggies and nuts grown there.

For more information, go to:



The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.​