Vision: All Marylanders – especially our children -- will be safer when this extremely harmful chemical is completely banned. Our waterways and wildlife will be protected. Safer alternatives, which are less toxic for humans, will be used to control pests.

Bill Numbers: House Bill (HB) 229, Senate Bill  (SB) 300
Sponsors: House - Del. Dana Stein, Senate - Sen. Clarence Lam
Click here to see our letter signed by 22 faith leaders and 4 congregations.

What happened during the 2021 session? 

  • IPC supported the campaign supporting a Veto Override.   
  • Senate President announced that he would not bring the veto override up for a vote this session, which essentially killed efforts to reverse the veto.
  • The premise of Gov. Hogan's veto was that the spirit of the ban could be addressed through tightened regulations, but this is considered a loophole by advocates, hence the push for a veto override. Senate President Ferguson stated that they will monitor Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) closely to make sure that regulations do not weaken or dilute the intended ban. Furthermore, Senator Lam (District 12) has publicly stated that the Senate will take swift action to pass another law if MDA requests any extensions or exemptions for chlorpyrifos use. The regulation states all exemptions end as of Dec 31, 2021. So, lest we feel disheartened, the state has officially ended the use of chlorpyrifos by end of this year. A deeper dive into this can be found in this Maryland Matters Article

What happened during the 2020 Session?

  • Passed into law and was the only environmental legislation passed this year, but then Gov. Hogan vetoed it. Efforts are underway to build a veto-override campaign.
  • Some amendments slipped in that we're not happy about, including a sunset in 2024. Efforts will be made in 2021 or 2022 to remove that sunset. 

What would this Bill Do?

  • The EPA recommended a ban, but that effort stalled in the current administration. We need to protect maryland's web of life, even if the EPA won't. 
  • The bill prohibits the use of chlorpyrifos in the state of Maryland. Farmers, golf courses and lawn care professionals are not prohibited from using other pesticides and insecticides. 
  • Although chlorpyrifos is widely used across the United States, its use among maryland farmers is minimal according to the maryland Department of Agriculture. Banning it would ensure we are taking steps to protect everyone in our state. 

Environmental Justice ImplicationsFarm workers are in great danger when asked to apply this chemical. Many farm workers are low-income or migrant workers. People living in “food deserts” or those who have lesser means are less likely to have access to or be able to afford organic foods. "Choose life that you and your descendants may live." (Leviticus 30:19) Let's make healthy choices for the farmworkers, the children and all future generations by keeping the soil and waters free of chemicals like chlorpyrifos that damage and compromise their health and our own.

Chlorpyrifos is a toxic nerve agent pesticide known to harm children's brain development, contaminate waterways and injure wildlife. After years of study, the US Environmental Protection Agency concluded that Chlorpyrifos was unsafe and prepared to ban it. Unfortunately, the EPA recently reversed that decision, putting Marylanders' health and our environment at great risk.

In 2015, after extensive study, EPA scientists confirmed that all uses of chlorpyrifos result in unsafe levels of exposure and proposed banning this pesticide for agricultural uses (it had already stopped being used in the home in 2000). The agency cited the high risk from children's exposure in utero or during critical periods of growth and the link between chlorpyrifos exposure and autism, ADHD and other neuro-developmental issues. EPA determined that children ages 1–2 may be getting exposed to levels of chlorpyrifos on food that are up to 140 times what EPA scientists believe is safe.

Prenatal exposures to this chemical are associated with reduced IQ, loss of working memory, attention deficit disorders and delayed motor development. In addition to EPA’s risk assessment, several studies indicating these effects were also published in 2006, 2011, 2012 and 2015. The American Association of Pediatrics said, in supporting the ban, the “EPA has no basis to allow continued use of chlorpyrifos, and its insistence in doing so puts all children at risk.” Fernando Stein, former president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said: “Extensive epidemiologic studies associate [chlorpyrifos] pesticide exposure with adverse birth and developmental outcomes, including preterm birth, low birth weight, congenital abnormalities, pediatric cancers, neurobehavioral and cognitive deficits, and asthma. The evidence is especially strong linking certain pesticide exposure with pediatric cancers and permanent neurological damage.”

Chlorpyrifos is also a major concern for the health of aquatic life and the Chesapeake Bay.

  • A Chesapeake Bay Program report found that chlorpyrifos ranks among the “top five individual toxics of concern.”
  • In 2017, the National Marine Fisheries Service reported that adult and juvenile Atlantic sturgeon, which are listed as endangered, are at a high risk from exposure to chlorpyrifos because concentrations of the chemical would reduce their abundance and spawning productivity.
  • Chlorpyrifos toxicology studies suggest behavioral, reproductive and endocrine disruption to all aquatic arthropods, such as crabs, especially those in close proximity to chlorpyrifos runoff. (Data published here, here, here , here and here).
  • A draft biological evaluation by the Environmental Protection Agency found that chlorpyrifos is “likely to adversely affect” 97 percent of all threatened and endangered wildlife, including more than 100 listed bird species.

Chlorpyrifos also harms pollinators.

  • Chlorpyrifos is second only to neonicotinoids as a risk to bees (third highest total, after two different types of neonics).
  • A 2014 study listed chlorpyrifos among the top five pesticides considered the highest risk to bees [Sanchez-Bayo and Goka, 2014].
  • Another 2014 study found that chlorpyrifos at hive-residue levels more than doubled larval mortality compared to untreated larvae [Zhu et al., 2014].
  • A ground-breaking peer-reviewed field study showed that not only does chlorpyrifos cause honeybees to suffer severe learning and memory deficits, it does so at the sub-lethal concentrations found in the majority of fields sprayed as directed by the manufacturer [Urlacher et al., 2016].
  • Current EPA risk-assessment and regulation of chlorpyrifos does not address sub-lethal effects. In fact, current regulation does not even address lethal effects. A 1986 study found that exposure to plants, pollen or nectar induces mortality for up to 7 days after chlorpyrifos is applied to a crop [Lunden et al., 1986].

Maryland would not be alone in banning Chlorpyrifos:

  • California, Hawaii, and New York have all passed legislation to ban Chlorpyrifos.
  • New Jersey, Vermont, Oregon and Connecticut are currently working to pass legislation banning Chlorpyrifos.
  • The EU has banned the sale of the pesticide after January 31, 2020.