Governor Cuomo Directs his Administration to Enact Pesticide Ban

ALBANY, NY – Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) today directed the New York Department of Environmental Conservation to take action to ban the use of chlorpyrifos. With the governor’s action, New York has joined Hawai’i and California in outlawing the use of the neurotoxic pesticide.  

“By promising to ban this pesticide, Governor Cuomo and New York have shown their commitment to protecting our children’s health and our environment,” said Jason Davidson, food and agriculture campaigner with Friends of the Earth. “Banning chlorpyrifos is the only safe way to protect our children, food supply and farm workers from this brain-damaging pesticide. We applaud New York for putting people and pollinators ahead of pesticide industry profits.” 

In April, New York legislators overwhelmingly approved Senate bill S.5343, which would ban all uses of chlorpyrifos as of December 1, 2021. The governor’s action comes after months of activism by Friends of the Earth and allies, including multiple letters from activists, scientists and environmental groups, a rally in the streets of New York City, and newspaper ads calling on Cuomo to ban the neurotoxic pesticide.

“The leadership of Senator Todd Kaminsky and Assemblyman Steve Englebright was essential to banning chlorpyrifos in New York,” said Davidson. “Friends of the Earth will work to hold the Department of Environmental Conservation accountable for stopping the use of this pesticide across the state.”

In 2015, EPA scientists recommended banning the chemical due to clear evidence that it can harm children’s developing brains. But the Trump administration reversed course after a $1 million donation to Trump’s inaugural committee, forcing individual states to take independent action to protect public health and the environment.

In their findings, EPA scientists concluded that there are virtually no safe uses of chlorpyrifos. The agency also found that children are exposed at 70 to 140 times safe levels through food and drink alone. Studies following children throughout early development have found increased risk of autism, reduced IQ, ADHD and loss of working memory.

Chlorpyrifos poses risk of acute poisoning and neurological damage in farmworkers, who are regularly exposed to harmful levels. Further, the pesticide is one of the most toxic pesticides to bees and it poses a serious threat to vulnerable wildlife.

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