Trump’s EPA Greenlighted a Pesticide That Harms Kids’ Brains. Hawaii Just Said, “Hell No.”

The state just enacted a ban on chloripyrifos, a neurotoxic chemical used in agriculture.

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In the early months of the Trump Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency reversed an Obama-era proposal to ban the widely used insecticide chlorpyrifos, which has been linked by ample research to inhibited brain development in children. 

On Wednesday, the state of Hawaii pushed back. Gov. David Ige signed Senate Bill 3095 bill into law, banning chlorpyrifos, which is produced by chemical giant DowDuPont, starting on January 1, 2023. Until then, anyone wanting to apply the chemical will have to obtain a temporary permit from the state’s agriculture department.

The bill also places new bans the spraying of “restricted use” pesticides within 100 feet of schools during school hours. Restricted use pesticides are those chemicals deemed by the EPA to be so toxic that can only be used by trained applicators on particular crops. Chlorpyrifos is on the list

The new law was pushed by a coalition of Hawaiian environmental groups. It marks the latest battle in their long conflict with the seed/agrichemical industry, which tests novel crops and pesticides on several of the state’s islands, most prominently Kauai. Back in 2013, the county of Kauai passed an ordinance requiring the industry to maintain buffer zones between between fields where pesticides are applied and neighboring properties, as well as regularly disclose what they’re spraying and where they’re spraying it. Syngenta and other seed companies sued to nix the law, arguing it preempted much looser state restrictions, and ultimately won. 

Leslee Matthews, Honolulu-based policy fellow with Pesticide Action Network, which helped organize support for the chlorpyrifos bill, said the push to ban the chemical will now turn to the mainland. “Hawaii’s efforts have set a precedent, and we hope this will pave the way for other states that are looking to enact similar legislation,” she said in a statement.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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