Udall, Neguse introduce bill to tighten up on pesticides
Senate Appropriations Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Subcommittee ranking member Tom Udall, D-N.M., and Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Colo., today introduced a bill to update the law governing pesticide use in the United States, the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).
Udall and Neguse said in a news release and a call to reporters that their Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act of 2020 (PACTPA) represents the first comprehensive update to FIFRA since 1996.
In their release, Udall and Neguse said, “Each year, the United States uses over a billion pounds of pesticides — nearly a fifth of worldwide use. In 2017 and 2018, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved more than 100 pesticides containing ingredients widely considered to be dangerous. Once approved, pesticides often remain on the market for decades, even when scientific evidence overwhelmingly shows a pesticide is causing harm to people or the environment. Udall and Neguse’s legislation would institute urgently needed reforms to update protections for children, farmworkers, consumers, and the environment and close dangerous loopholes that prevent adequate pesticide review.”
The Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act of 2020 would:
Ban organophosphate insecticides, neonicotinoid insecticides and paraquat;
▪ Create a petition process to enable individual citizens to petition the EPA to identify dangerous pesticides so that the EPA would no longer be able to indefinitely allow dangerous pesticides to remain on the market;
▪ Require employers of farmworkers to report all pesticide-caused injuries to the EPA, with strong penalties for failure to report injuries or retaliating against workers;
▪ Direct the EPA to review pesticide injury reports and work with the pesticide manufacturers to develop better labeling to prevent future injury; and
▪ Require that all pesticide label instructions be written in Spanish and in any language spoken by more than 500 pesticide applicators.
On the call, Udall, who is retiring after this session of Congress, avoided directly answering questions about whether Congress would have time to consider the legislation this year and whether President Donald Trump would sign the bill. Udall said that chemical safety has been an area of bipartisan cooperation before, that a lot of education is needed on these issues and that science needs to be reintroduced in the regulatory process.
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