After nearly three years of advocacy work, in alliance with PCUN, Oregon’s farm worker union, the Oregon Department of Agriculture has adopted a new set of laws to immediately restrict the use of chlorpyrifos! The broad coalition organized by Beyond Toxics and PCUN, mobilized hundreds of comments and worked closely with the agency to eliminate barriers to public participation to ensure that farmworkers and impacted members of the public could make their voices heard.
What the ruling specifies
The final rule has several components that can improve the lives of farmworker communities. The rules include:
o Prohibits use on golf courses.
o Phases out aerial application on all crops by January 1, 2021
o Phases out aerial spraying of Christmas trees by December 31, 2023, and until then any spraying will only be permitted from April 1st through June 15th.
o Buffer zones to reduce drift from spraying near sensitive sites such as farmworker housing and schools are increased to 300 feet (from as little as 10 to a maximum of 100 feet. in existing regulations).
o Significantly increases requirements for personal protective equipment for mixers and applicators.
o Classifies all chlorpyrifos products as “restricted use” which requires a pesticide applicators license to buy or use the pesticide.
Beyond Toxics first worked with state legislators Representatives Paul Holvey and Ken Helm in 2019 to introduce a proposed law to phase out the pesticides use in Oregon, following similar actions taken in Hawaii, California and New York. The bill proposal was reintroduced by Representative Salinas during the 2020 legislative short session with support from both Beyond Toxics and PCUN. After the issue remained unresolved because of the premature end of the 2020 legislative session, the Department of Agriculture established a work group of farm, business and environmental health advocates to study the issue. Beyond Toxics played a pivotal role to demand stronger human health protections, restrictions on Christmas tree sprays, and expanded definitions of sensitive sites and the need to protect these places with larger no-spray buffer zones.
Based on the agency’s findings, the Oregon Department of Agriculture released a final rule on the use of Chlorpyrifos on December 16th, culminating a year-long rulemaking process. As of December 31st, 2023, Oregon is prohibited to use, deliver, distribute, sell, offer or expose for sale pesticide products containing chlorpyrifos, except granular forms, seed treatments and pest emergencies.
RULE TITLE: Limitations on Pesticide Products Containing Chlorpyrifos (PDF)
(OAR 603-057-0545 Permanent Chlorpyrifos Rule December 15, 2020)