Should Congress target and eliminate harmful pesticides that harm the health of farmworkers and children?

Awaiting Vote
Bill Summary

This bill seeks to propose policies that target and eliminate harmful and toxic pesticides that are harmful to the health of farmworkers and children. In addition to suspending pesticides with dangerous active ingredients, the bill empowers the EPA to designate pesticides as dangerous and requires companies to be transparent with inert ingredients. The bill would also ban organophosphates pesticides, which have been linked to developmental issues and cancers in children. Sponsor: Sen. Cory Booker (Democrat, New Jersey)
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Opponents say

  "For example, controlling invasive insects is an important part of combating devastating wildfires that are putting so many California communities at risk. Neonicotinoids often are the only tools available to combat deadly boring insects, which are killing trees in urban areas as well as in forests. Wildfire spreads rapidly among dead trees. Further, if these pesticides cannot be used in urban areas, pests will move out of backyard citrus trees and into commercial citrus orchards. Eight out of 10 citrus trees in California grow in urban backyards. To prevent the insect-borne diseases in California that have devastated the citrus industries in Florida, Texas and parts of northern Mexico, pests must be controlled." Source: Renee Pinel (CEO of Western Plant Association)

  "Because of the extensive benefits which man accrues from pesticides, these chemicals provide the best opportunity to those who juggle with the risk-benefit equations. The economic impact of pesticides in non-target species (including humans) has been estimated at approximately $8 billion annually in developing countries. For developing countries, it is imperative to use pesticides, as no one would prefer famine and communicable diseases like malaria. It may thus be expedient to accept a reasonable degree of risk. Our approach to the use of pesticides should be pragmatic. In other words, all activities concerning pesticides should be based on scientific judgment and not on commercial considerations." Source: National Library of Medicine

Proponents say

  "For years I have worked to elevate the voices of farmers, workers, and consumers in urban and rural communities, sounding the alarm about our broken food system and calling for change. The COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and recent climate change-related disasters have highlighted how fragile our current food system is. So I'm excited to re-introduce a package of bills that would help mold our food system into one that is more competitive, resilient, humane, and just for everyone. I'm eager to work with my colleagues on the Senate Agriculture Committee to make meaningful progress on these issues, because the status quo created by agribusiness special interests is putting all of us at risk." Source: Sen. Cory Booker (Democrat, New Jersey)

  "America’s farmworkers and children are being sickened by dangerous pesticides, including many banned in other countries. Sen. Booker’s bill proposes common-sense solutions that target the most harmful pesticides and close egregious loopholes in pesticide law. They’ll ensure people’s health comes before the pesticide industry’s greed." Source: J.W. Glass (EPA policy specialist, Center for Biological Diversity)

  "Science has shown that exposure to paraquat increases risk for Parkinson’s disease. In addition to this human toll, allowing this chemical to remain on the market carries with it a serious financial cost to the federal government and American families. The United States is long overdue in banning paraquat, and this bill brings about necessary reform." Source: Ted Thompson (Senior VP for Public Policy, Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research)