A few months after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ruled to not ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos, California's Scientific Review Panel unanimously agreed this week that it should be listed as a toxic air contaminant.
Chlorpyrifos is used to control pests that harm more than 60 crops, but the group of nine scientists agreed that is has severe and irreversible negative effects on children’s developing brains.
"It was removed from use for like roach and ant control in homes because of the risk to kids, but it was left in the fields,” said Natural Resource Defense Council senior scientist Miriam Rotkin-Ellman
More than 900,000 pounds of the pesticide were used in California in 2016, and farmers must follow federal, state and county rules when applying it.
Listing the pesticide as a toxic air contaminant will take a formal regulation process and may conclude by the year’s end.
"They must address the risk and make sure that Californians are protected and safe,” Rotkin-Ellman said. “This could include and should include immediate suspension of this pesticide."