I was pleased to see Mateusz Perkowski’s article on HB 2619 to ban chlorpyrifos in Oregon. However, I was disappointed to read that Oregon legislators have called into question the clear evidence that demonstrate the dangers of chlorpyrifos.
Chlorpyrifos is a toxic pesticide currently used on Oregon’s agriculture to kill or repel pests. It poses a major risk to humans, especially children. The pesticide is linked to brain damage, autism, cancer and Parkinson’s disease. Without a ban on this toxin, Oregon’s farmers, families and children are endangered.
House Bill 2619A acts to eliminate the use of chlorpyrifos in Oregon.
The evidence to indicate the dangers of chlorpyrifos is not in question. Decades of EPA studies demonstrate that there are absolutely no safe levels or uses of chlorpyrifos. The harm is greatest for children’s brain development. The EPA proposed a ban on chlorpyrifos, but the Trump administration rejected the ban in 2017. Rep. Shelly Boshart Davis, R-Albany, is correct: strong science must inform legislators’ decisions. According to the EPA and numerous Oregon scientists, chlorpyrifos is undeniably dangerous to children’s health and the environment.
The recent chlorpyrifos bans in Hawaii, California and New York, some of the major agriculture states, are evidence that states can continue to compete and profit without the use of chlorpyrifos in order to protect health. I urge Oregon legislators to seriously consider the evidence that undoubtedly points to the dangers of chlorpyrifos, support and immediately pass HB 2619 to ban chlorpyrifos in Oregon.
Dr. Randall Phelps, M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Institute on Development and Disability
Oregon Health Sciences University