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Chlorpyrifos Ban Bill

The 2020 Maryland Chlorpyrifos Ban Bill


March 18, 2020, the Chlorpyrifos Ban bill (SB 300) cleared its final House vote, just before session adjourned. Maryland will become the fourth state in the nation to ban chlorpyrifos starting January 1, 2021. We are thrilled that Maryland's General Assembly will provide near-immediate protection for Maryland's children and the environment!

SB 300 will be a complete ban by January 2022, but opponents managed to include an amendment sunsetting the law on Dec. 31, 2024 in an effort to undermine the bill. Supporters intend to work on deleting the sunset clause over the next few years.

This is great news particularly in such strange times. Thanks to everyone who reached out to their elected officials. We can, and did, make a difference!!


Our Legislators need to hear from us: SGGC Club members, parents, grandparents, and conservationists on this critical issue!

Please, if you could take a few minutes to review this info and contact your elected officials. Advocacy is an important part of our mission.

Senate Bill SB300 and its companion bill in the House, HB229 have been introduced in the Maryland General Assembly to ban the pesticide Chlorpyrifos by October 2020. Linked are the bills, background information on the legislation and relevant talking points.

You can follow the legislation and also watch Committee proceedings by going to

SB 300 went before the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Matters Committee, on February 11, 2020 at 1:00. Sherry Locke (Amateur Gardener's Club) was one of three panels that the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) have organized in support of the legislation. On the following day, (2/12/20) HB229 was heard before the House Environment and Transportation Committee at 1:00. Sherry wias on one of the LCV panels. 

It would be most helpful if you could share this information with your friends to urge them to contact their legislators to ask for their support of the legislation. Chlorpyrifos is a toxic nerve agent pesticide that has been found to damage children's brain development, contaminant waterways and injure wildlife. It is also the second most harmful pesticide to our honeybees.

The best way to contact your legislators is to call their offices or send an email. You can find their contact information on the website provided. If you are unsure who your State Senator or State Legislators are, you can contact your local Board of Elections or go to

Finally, on February 10th, there was a Lobby Day in Annapolis in support of the legislation. 

We have a good chance of seeing this important bill passed this year, but it is critical your elected officials hear from you. 


The 2020 Maryland Chlorpyrifos Ban Bill

Why Maryland needs to ban chlorpyrifos

The Smart on Pesticides Coalition supports this Maryland bill that would ban all uses of chlorpyrifos, a toxic nerve agent pesticide proven to cause brain damage in children, contaminate waterways and harm wildlife. After years of study, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency concluded that chlorpyrifos is unsafe at any detectable level, and was set to ban it. Unfortunately, the Trump Administration reversed that decision and the issue remains tied up in the courts, putting Marylanders’ health and our environment at great risk.

Children’s exposure in utero or during critical periods of growth is linked to autism, childhood cancers, ADHD and other neurodevelopmental issues. Prenatal exposures to this chemical are associated with reduced IQ, loss of working memory, attention deficit disorders, and delayed motor development. The American Association of Pediatrics said, in supporting a federal ban, the “EPA has no basis to allow continued use of chlorpyrifos, and its insistence in doing so puts all children at risk.”

Statement on Failure of Chlorpyrifos Ban Bill in 2019 – April 2, 2019

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The 9th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals ruled in August that the EPA must “revoke all tolerances and cancel all registrations for chlorpyrifos.” The Court stated that there was “ no justification for the EPA’s decision… in the face of scientific evidence that its residue on food causes neurodevelopmental damage to children.” EPA has appealed that decision and will likely continue to tie this issue up in the courts for months, or years, to come.

Chlorpyrifos is widely applied in the production of fruits, vegetables, nuts and other conventionally grown crops, including many kid favorites like apples, peaches, grapes and strawberries. A 2015 study by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found that chlorpyrifos is the fourth most common pesticide found in human foods.

In addition to impacting children’s health, all farmworkers who mix and apply chlorpyrifos are exposed to elevated levels of the pesticide, even with maximum personal protective equipment and engineering controls. Female field workers are at increased risk for pre-menopausal breast cancer. Chlorpyrifos can also harm male reproductive health. Exposure may cause chromosomal abnormalities or gene mutations in offspring, low quality sperm, and a reduction in testosterone.

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

A Chesapeake Bay Program report found chlorpyrifos in 90 percent of Bay water samples analyzed for this chemical, and 40 percent of those had concentrations that exceeded thresholds indicating possible ecological effects. Adult and juvenile Atlantic sturgeon, listed as endangered, are at a high risk from exposure to chlorpyrifos in the Bay because concentrations of the chemical reduce their abundance and spawning productivity. Studies suggest behavioral, reproductive and endocrine disruption to all aquatic arthropods, especially those in close proximity to chlorpyrifos runoff.

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. A 2014 study listed chlorpyrifos among the top five pesticides considered the highest risk to bees. Another 2014 study found that chlorpyrifos at hive-residue levels more than doubled larval mortality compared to untreated larvae. A ground-breaking peer-reviewed field study showed that not only does chlorpyrifos cause colony threatening brain damage to honeybees, but it does so at the sub-lethal concentrations found in the majority of fields sprayed as directed by the manufacturer.

Did you know? Chlorpyrifos is a type of organophosphate compound, which were originally developed as human nerve gas agents during the 1930s-1940s and used by the Nazis in WWII. In the United States, many organophosphate compound pesticides—including malathion, dichlorvos, azinphos-methyl, and chlorpyrifos—were licensed for insecticidal use before requirements to evaluate human toxicity or ecologic effects were established.

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