Protect Oregon’s Children: Ban Chlorpyrifos

In Pesticides by OLCVstaff

In a small farm town, a 7-year-old girl plays outside at recess. It’s a sunny but windy day, and a little dusty, but that’s nothing unusual. The girl plays on the swings until she’s called back into the classroom. That afternoon, she has a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch, and, that night, at home with her parents, she has salmon for dinner, along with a big glass of water.

None of this sounds dangerous. In fact, it all sounds healthy, and normal. But the little girl has just been exposed to chlorpyrifos—a dangerous, highly toxic pesticide—four times in one day: she inhaled chlorpyrifos on the playground, as it drifted over from the nearest farm; she ingested chlorpyrifos residue from the sandwich bread and the salmon; and her drinking water, too, was sourced from the same chlorpyrifos-contaminated river as the salmon.

Chlorpyrifos threatens all Oregonians who are exposed to it, especially children. That’s why one of our 2019 Legislative Priorities for a Healthy Oregon is to pass House Bill 2619, a statewide ban on chlorpyrifos. This Wednesday, the House Rules committee will be holding a hearing on HB 2619. Now’s the time to make your voice heard. Will you write to your State Representative and ask them to vote yes on the ban?

Just small amounts of chlorpyrifos have been known to kill fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and pollinators. In humans, chlorpyrifos acts as a neurotoxin, with high enough doses leading to paralysis or death. Children exposed to chlorpyrifos suffer developmental issues, lowered IQ scores, and impaired cognitive development. Pregnant woman run the risk of lowered birth weight, and an increased risk for developmental issues in their babies.

Chlorpyrifos drifts when it’s sprayed, so, in addition to farmworkers and their families, nearby communities are also at risk. Chlorpyrifos lasts for years in the soil, and washes into rivers and streams, where it bioaccumulates in fish. Crops sprayed with chlorpyrifos are also dangerous for children. Strawberries, wheat, and other common crops are often contaminated. Help protect Oregon’s children from this deadly pesticide—send a letter to your Representative and ask them to pass HB 2619! 

Chlorpyrifos was almost banned on the national level, until Trump’s then-EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt shot it down. It’s up to the states to take action, now. Last year, Hawaii became the first state to ban chlorpyrifos. Now it’s Oregon’s turn. There’s no reason to continue using this pesticide when we know how much damage it’s causing the ecosystem, our water quality, and the health of Oregonians. Please write to your legislator today!