Why Did Maryland’s General Assembly Kill the Bill to Ban the Toxic Pesticide Chlorpyrifos?
March 9, 2018
Last week, the proposed bill to ban the toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos quietly died in Maryland’s Senate. This is incredibly disappointing news and puts the health of children, farmworkers, pollinators, and our environment in danger.
Delegate Dana Stein and Senator Shirley Nathan-Pulliam spearheaded the effort to ban this dangerous pesticide after seeing the EPA backtrack on a plan to bar the use of chlorpyrifos across the country. They knew they couldn’t count on the federal government to protect us from this toxic chemical and decided they needed to act locally. These legislators were buoyed by the broad consensus from doctors, nurses and other public health experts that this pesticide was far too toxic and dangerous to continue allowing its use in any amount. The science was sound. And the EPA’s own scientists agreed!
We had the facts, the support from respected and credible groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and Friends of the Earth, and the voices of thousands of Marylanders who wanted this dangerous chemical banned. So what happened?
Unfortunately, powerful industries in the state stepped in and aggressively lobbied Senators to drop the bill so they can continue using the chemical rather than transitioning to the numerous, safer alternatives available. The most vocal opponents were the pesticide, golf course, and agriculture industries.
While the vast majority of farms in the state do not use this pesticide, a small segment continue to rely on it despite the consequences. Golf courses regularly use chlorpyrifos – and are actually beginning to find that the targeted pest is building resistance to the insecticide.
But do not be deterred! We are proud that Del. Stein, Sen. Nathan- Pulliam, and other policymakers took a real stand. We are thankful for the many farmers in our network who testified in support of the ban, proving everyday that this chemical isn’t necessary to produce food. And we are in awe of the support from people like YOU, who spoke out in support of this common-sense bill.
We are fired up to win this during next year’s General Assembly.