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Oregon Dept. of Agriculture phasing out most uses of insecticide by end of 2023

Oregon Department of Agriculture logo 2
Oregon Dept. of Agriculture

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Oregon Department of Agriculture filed administrative rules with the secretary of state this week that significantly limits insecticide chlorpyrifos' uses immediately and phases out nearly all use by Dec. 31, 2023.

The nearly 3-year phase-out provides research time into alternative products and evaluates newly Environmental Protection Agency-approved insecticides. Use of chlorpyrifos has been linked to harmful effects on the human body.

ODA funded two projects this year through the Specialty Crop Block Grant program to develop safe and more sustainable alternatives to chlorpyrifos and would consider additional future projects in the next granting cycle that is open through Jan. 29, 2021.

ODA wrote the rules with the help of a diverse workgroup that included leaders and experts from a broad cross-section of interests, including agriculture, environmental justice groups, toxicologists, and farmworker health-and-safety organizations.

ODA extended the public comment period two times to accommodate those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and Oregon's wildfires in September 2020.

ODA's goals in adopting these rules are limiting risk by reducing exposure for workers and bystanders and retaining lower-risk critical uses crucial to protecting Oregon crops when using chlorpyrifos.

Effective immediately upon rule adoption,

  • Prohibits the use of chlorpyrifos for mosquito vector control, golf course turfgrass, and certain types of enclosed structures.
  • Establishes a 4-day restricted entry interval after use for all crops, including nursery and Christmas Trees.
  • Aerial application is prohibited on all crops, except for a very narrow window of time on Christmas trees.
  • All applicators must pass a pesticide certification exam and obtain a license.
  • Respiratory protection requirements are increased.
  • Recordkeeping is required, and must be maintained for at least three years.
  • To protect bystanders and water quality, expanded buffers are required around sensitive sites and waterways.

Effective January 1, 2021

  • All products containing chlorpyrifos will be restricted-use, except for cattle ear tags..

Effective March 1, 2021

  • All mixer or loaders of chlorpyrifos must either be a certified and licensed pesticide applicator, or have successfully completed a special training conducted or approved by ODA.

After December 31, 2023

  • It is prohibited to use or sell chlorpyrifos except for:
    • Commercial pre-plant seed treatments
    • Granular formulations and
    • Cattle ear-tags

The final rule prohibits aerial application on all crops, except Christmas trees, for a ten-week window between April 1 and June 15. This permitted window will be prohibited after December 31, 2023, providing a transition period for the nation's largest Christmas tree industry.

After the phase-out at the end of 2023, chlorpyrifos in granular form, representing less than 1 percent of chlorpyrifos' agricultural use, will be allowed to remain on the market. It will also be permitted for seed treatments and in cattle ear tags.

The EPA defines chlorpyrifos as a "broad-spectrum" insecticide because it can kill a wide variety of insects. The insecticide was first registered in 1965.

According to the EPA, this is the most widely used conventional insecticide in the US. Chlorpyrifos is used on nearly 50 different crops, including many crops grown for seed, sweet corn, broccoli and cauliflower, tree fruits, Christmas trees, and onions.

For more information on the limitations of pesticide products containing chlorpyrifos, visit ODAs Pesticide Rulemaking web page at

Article Topic Follows: Oregon-Northwest

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