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Farmworker groups in Santa Maria call for ban on harmful pesticide

A coalition of farmworkers, community health, labor, and environmental justice groups are asking the Santa Barbara County agriculture commissioner to ban the brain-harming pesticide, Chlorpyrifos.

During a press conference on Cesar Chavez Day Friday morning, organizers talked about the effects of the insecticide on local agricultural workers and their children. Some of those include respiratory problems and permanent brain harm.

March 29 marks the one-year anniversary of U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s reversal of the proposed ban on chlorpyrifos under the Trump Administration.

Santa Barbara County Supervisor Joan Hartmann wrote to the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) last September, “I urge you to take these [scientific] findings into full consideration and support steps to discontinue the use of chlorpyrifos in California agriculture, including a suspension of use during review period”.

A 2014 study conducted by the Department of Public Health found five Santa Barbara County public schools within a quarter of a mile of the heaviest chlorpyrifos use in California: Kermit McKenzie Jr. High, Bonita Elementary, Mary Buren Elementary, Pioneer Valley High, and Calvin C. Oakley Elementary.

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