The state of Oregon is phasing out the use of chlorpyrifos, a pesticide that’s come under scrutiny for its toxicity to humans. The pesticide will be banned for most uses by 2023, which could have particular impact to agriculturally rich Marion and Polk counties. Kathy Freeborn Hadley doesn’t spray her grass seed fields near Salem with chlorpyrifos every season. But when sod webworms burrow into the plant, she said the pesticide is a valuable aid.

“We don’t really have an alternative,” she said. “It’s a tool in the toolbox.”

Now, a bill moving through the Oregon Legislature seeks to help farmers like Hadley find an off-ramp from the commonly-used pesticide that’s being phased out because of its harmful effects on human health.

There are roughly 100 crops in Oregon that chlorpyrifos are used on including apples, alfalfa, Christmas trees and others. It’s been used since the 1960s, but in recent years it’s come under scrutiny by environmental and farmworker groups for being neurotoxic to people working in agricultural settings and those who live nearby.

After multiple bills seeking to restrict its use failed in the Legislature, most recently in 2019, the Oregon Department of Agriculture adopted regulations in December last year to begin phasing out their use by 2023.

Read more on this story at the Salem Reporter