Chlorpyrifos, a popular pesticide chemical used in farming across the state, will be phased out completely because of it’s link to neurological problems in children.
The pesticide was first registered for use in 1965. The are multiple farms across the state that use pesticides with chlorpyrifos because of it’s long lasting ability and cheap price.
“One of the brands of chlorpyrifos is heavily appreciated by our fruit industry,” said Walt Nelson, a horticulturist with the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Monroe County.
Recent studies have linked the pesticide to neurological problems in children, including reduced IQ, attention disorders and delayed motor development.
“Folks are raising some flags about it and this one got the red flag,” said Nelson.
State lawmakers have banned the pesticide in aerial spraying and plan to ban the chemical altogether by 2021. Some farmers are concerned about rising costs, but realize the health risk.
“It does help take care of a lot of issues you might have later on. We have phased it out. Just made the conscious decision that we’re trying to move towards an all natural type of spraying that is a little bit healthier,” said Evan Schutt, owner of SCHUTT’S Apple Mill.
There are safer alternatives to chlorpyrifos but the price is higher. Farmer’s fear it’s the consumer that will ultimately pay the price.
“It’s gonna actually raise our cost to produce the quality of fruity because if you do use this specific type of chemical this spray it help actually limit you later in the season not having to use some other type of spray.”
This ban will go into effect in 2021 pending a signature by Governor Cuomo.