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California Farmers Team Up To Find Insecticide Alternatives

Ezra David Romero
Valley Public Radio
Almond orchards across California are dealing with trees showing signs of the drought.

Farmers are gathering in meetingsacross California this month to talk about insecticides currently used that could be harmful to human health. FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports from a meeting in Parlier.

The Environmental Protection Agency is proposingto ban the practice of a commonly used insecticide on fruits and veggies called chlorpyrifos  The EPA has until the end of 2016 to respond to a lawsuit which seeks to stop the use of the chemical.

DOLL: “Chlorpyrifos is a tool and over reliance on that tool to help us solve pest problems is gonna have environmental impacts and potentially could impact human populations as well.”

That’s David Dollwith the University of California Cooperative Extension. The effects of chlorpyrifos are highly debated but are said to harmful if breathed in or ingested.

Bill Chandler is an almond grower in Selma. He uses the insecticide on his farm and says farmers have alternatives.

CHANDLER: “Don’t give up the ship, there’s help. That’s why they had this meeting to say listen gentleman there’s these problems. Let’s learn how to work with them and see what we can use differently.”

Meetings will also be held in Bakersfield, Stockton and Tulare in the coming weeks.  

Ezra David Romero is an award-winning radio reporter and producer. His stories have run on Morning Edition, Morning Edition Saturday, Morning Edition Sunday, All Things Considered, Here & Now, The Salt, Latino USA, KQED, KALW, Harvest Public Radio, etc.