Chlorpyrifos is a toxic pesticide that is proven to cause brain damage in children, contaminate waterways, and harm wildlife. In 2015, the EPA took the very unusual move to begin procedures to ban it, largely due to the large body of peer-reviewed science that found that it was toxic at much lower levels than previously realized. Their 2016 review confirmed that chlorpyrifos was especially dangerous and could not be used safely.
Typically, when the EPA reviews a pesticide like this, they determine how it can be used safely. What concentrations can be used, what protective equipment must be worn, and in what conditions the pesticide can be applied. For chlorpyrifos, they determined that at low concentrations, wearing maximum protective equipment, and applying it perfectly it was still too dangerous to human health.
In 2017, the EPA reversed course and decided they needed to study it more. They did not do this based on a new study, but because of the opinions of new political appointees. Many states, including Maryland, have sued the EPA over this procedural step.
In the meantime, Maryland can protect its residents by passing legislation (HB229/SB300) to ban banning chlorpyrifos and chlorpyrifos-treated seeds.
Chlorpyrifos is already in our waterways. When samples were tested from the Chesapeake Bay, 90% of the samples tested had chlorpyrifos and 40% of those positive tests exceeded thresholds indicated possible ecological effects.
This year, the Maryland General Assembly voted to pass a ban on chlorpyrifos in Maryland, but Governor Hogan vetoed the bill. Hogan's decision hurts public health at a time when our farm workers, especially, are already incredibly vulnerable. Send your representatives a message today: override Hogan's veto and protect public health.