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Statement on Governor Cuomo’s chlorpyrifos ban

OSSINING, N.Y. — Yesterday, Governor Cuomo directed the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to ban the aerial spraying of the toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos, ban all use except apple tree trunk application by 2020 and ban all use by 2021. The Governor also vetoed legislation sponsored by Senator Todd Kaminsky and Assembly Member Steve Englebright that would have also phased out the pesticide.

Banning this toxic pesticide is important for protecting human health and life found in our rivers, lakes and oceans. The National Marine Fisheries Service in 2017 reported that adult and juvenile Atlantic sturgeon, which are listed as endangered, are at high risk from exposure to chlorpyrifos because concentrations of the chemical would reduce their abundance and spawning productivity. A 2009 study in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology found chlorpyrifos to have negative effects below lethal levels and are destructive around the gills of fish.

“Riverkeeper applauds Governor Cuomo’s actions to ban chlorpyrifos, a pesticide known to damage the gills of fish and poses a high risk to the endangered Atlantic sturgeon,” said Riverkeeper’s president, Paul Gallay. “However, if existing science is sufficient for the Governor to tell DEC to ban Chlorpyrifos, then that same science should have led him to avoid the extra time, effort and expense of a rulemaking process by signing the legislation championed by Senator Kaminsky and Assembly Member Englebright.”


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