Published: June 19, 2024

Category: Pesticide Hazards

California is moving closer to banning the controversial herbicide paraquat after a legislative committee recently allowed the measure to proceed, and it then passed the state’s assembly.

The ban would take effect Jan. 1, 2026 and outlaw the “usemanufacture, sale, delivery, holding, or offering for sale in commerce” of any pesticide product that contains paraquat. The bill also provides for a process that allows state regulators to reevaluate paraquat and potentially reapprove it with or without new restrictions.

Supporters of the bill justify the ban because of research linking paraquat exposure to Parkinson’s disease, an incurable and debilitating brain disease considered a top cause of death in the United States.

Several thousand farmers, agricultural workers, and others are suing paraquat maker Syngenta, alleging they developed Parkinson’s because of long-term chronic effects of the weed killer.

In arguing for the ban, California Assemblymember Laura Friedman said: “California is the breadbasket of the nation. Farm workers put food on our table, and we should do everything we can to make their jobs safer. No one should run the risk of chemical exposure on the job leading to their contracting Parkinson’s disease.”

Friedman partnered with the Environmental Working Group (EWG) to introduce the measure, and said it passed “not only because banning paraquat is the right thing to do,” but also because there are “readily available, safer, affordable alternatives.”

The proposed ban passed the full Assembly and now advances to the state Senate.

Sources: The New Lede, LA Daily News

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Organic & Non-GMO Insights June 2024