Chlorpyrifos is a pesticide that’s been sprayed on crops like strawberries, corn, and citrus, for many years to kill pests. Corteva, the largest manufacturer of chlorpyrifos, says it will stop manufacturing the product by the end of the year.
The insecticide has been linked in certain studies to neurological problems in children and has been called a threat to wildlife. However, the Environmental Protection Agency has resisted banning the product from the market, while saying that additional safety tests are needed. Some states haven’t waited for the EPA to make a decision and acted on their own.
California is a state that says farmers can’t use the insecticide after December 31st of this year. Hawaii was the first state to ban chlorpyrifos, with that ban to take effect in 2022. The European Union has also banned using the insecticide. Corteva spokesperson Gregg Schmidt says demand for the product has “declined significantly” over the last twenty years. That’s what drove the decision to stop manufacturing the product, not safety concerns.
Corteva tells Reuters that the company will continue to back chlorpyrifos during the EPA’s review. Environmental groups are happy with the move, but they caution that other companies are still manufacturing the product, which is allowed on imported food.