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Corteva to halt chlorpyrifos production by year’s end

corteva logoCorteva Agriscience will stop manufacturing chlorpyrifos insecticide by the end of the year, the company said Feb. 6.

The announcement follows California’s phase-out of the product, which has been linked to reduced IQs and attention disorders in children.

Effective Feb. 6, retailers in California will no longer be able to sell chlorpyrifos. Growers can still use the product through Dec. 31, as long as they have a current pesticide label that spells out further restrictions by the state.

After that date, California growers will no longer be able to possess or use the insecticide.

Hawaii banned use of the insecticide in 2018, while New York’s prohibition is effective Dec. 31, 2020, except for use on apple trunks. A full ban in New York will take effect in July 2021.

In addition, Oregon, Maryland and Connecticut are considering prohibitions.

The insecticide has been the target of several lawsuits, with the Environmental Protection Agency proposing a ban on the pesticide in 2015. Shortly after President Donald Trump took office, the EPA changed its stance and refused to ban chrlorpyrifos.

Although Corteva officials maintain chlorpyrifos is safe, they made the decision to halt production because of declining sales.

Estimated use by volume declined to less than 5 million pounds nationwide in 2016 from about 13 million pounds in 1994, according to U.S. Geological Survey data.

In California, use dropped to 900,000 pounds in 2016 from 2 million pounds in 2005, according to California Department of Pesticide Regulation figures.

Corteva is the largest manufacturer of chlorpyrifos, which it markets under the Lorsban brand.

In addition, several other companies market the active ingredient as off-patent products.

An organophosphate, chlorpyrifos is used on a handful of crops, including alfalfa, almonds, citrus, cotton, grapes and walnuts. In cotton, Lorsban 4E is labeled to control thrips, plant bugs, cotton aphid, fall armyworm, cotton bollworm and spider mites, to name a few.