Injunction stops pesticide spraying in California to enforce compliance with environmental laws

It was a big win for environmental groups in California last February 22 when a judge ordered that the California Department of Food and Agriculture stop using chemical pesticides statewide. The injunction was finally issued after decades of lobbying by public health conservation groups who argued that the rampant and unregulated pesticide spraying in the state has influenced or led to the dramatic increase of health and environmental issues in the area such as the rapid decline of the bee population.

The injunction cited that California has been “woefully deficient” in assessing the cumulative damage done by consistent pesticide use. The state currently uses more than 150 million pounds of pesticides each year.

“After more than 30 years of disregard for state environmental laws, the agency’s chemical weapons have finally been taken off the table,” enthused Nan Wishner of the California Environmental Health Initiative. “We hope the department will take this opportunity to shift course and apply sound science, partner with the public, and develop a more sustainable, transparent approach.”

Local environment groups were delivered a massive blow in 2014 when government officials approved a program that legally allowed groups to spray any of 79 approved pesticides, some of which are known carcinogens. These chemicals could be sprayed anywhere in the state, including schools, farms, public parks, and residential yards. Since its approval, health advocates estimate that the Department of Food and Agriculture has carried out more than 1,000 pesticide treatments in the state. These pesticide treatments included the following dangerous chemicals: neonicotinoid (a toxin that damages aquatic invertebrates and bees), chlorpyrifos (another toxin known to cause brain damage in children), methyl bromide (a toxic fumigant that depletes the ozone layer), and chloropicrin (a chemical warfare agent that causes genetic damage).  

A provision in the injunction states that the agency has to give public notice of its future activities.

Taking action now to prevent long-term effects

It is shocking indeed that California has been so lackadaisical with the health of its citizens and the environment. It is a known fact – despite what some “scientific” articles claim – that pesticides do more harm than good. These chemicals interact with everything they come into contact with and can cause harmful or lethal effects, even after one episode of inhalation or ingestion.

  • Mental disturbances – Long-term exposure to pesticides has been linked to an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, depression and anxiety, and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • Endocrine disorders – Pesticides can manipulate how your hormones are produced. Research proves that people who are continually exposed to pesticides are more like to have: reduced semen quality, genital malformations, early puberty, pregnancy complications, diabetes, obesity, and hypothyroidism.
  • Digestive problems – Crops sprayed with pesticides are laced with toxins which you inevitably ingest. A study that monitored the amount of pesticide residue left in various crops showed that certain lettuce grown in the European Union had 30 percent higher residue levels of pesticide than what is considered safe. People who regularly ate these crops had an increased risk of developing digestive problems.
  • Reduced food supply – Pesticides contaminate soil, water, and other vegetation. They are also toxic to birds, fish, beneficial insects, and plants, compromising biodiversity. Chemicals found in pesticides can cause populations of beneficial microorganisms in soil to decline. Scientists say that our indiscriminate use of chemical fertilizers have caused acres of farmland to no longer be viable. (Related: The security of our food and nutrition supply is compromised by pesticide residues, new science finds.)
  • Less clean water – Toxins from pesticides can reach surface water through runoff from treated plants. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has stated that the amount of water contaminated by pesticides is widespread and is especially rampant in urban streams.

California’s injunction is just one step of many more we still need to take for environmental protection. Keep yourself updated at

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