The nation's most productive agricultural state will ban a widely used pesticide blamed for harming brain development in babies, California officials said Wednesday.
The move cheered by environmental groups would outlaw chlorpyrifos (klohr-PY'-rih-fohs) after scientists deemed it a toxic air contaminant and discovered it to be more dangerous than previously thought. State Environmental Secretary Jared Blumenfeld said it's the first time the state has sought to ban a pesticide and the move was overdue.
"This pesticide is a neurotoxin and it was first put on the market in 1965," Blumenfeld said. "So it's been on the shelf a long time and it's past its sell-by date."
The decision comes after regulators in several states have taken steps in recent years to restrict the pesticide currently used on about 60 different crops in California, including grapes, almonds and oranges.
Hawaii banned it last year and New York lawmakers recently sent a bill to the governor outlawing use of the pesticide.