The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently opened a public comment period to revoke all food residue tolerances for the chemical.
Chlorpyrifos is used on a variety of fruit crops including apples, citrus, grapes and cherries, as well as other produce items like almonds, walnuts, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and asparagus.
The EPA claimed traces had been found in waterways and said overuse could make targeted insects immune, amongst other issues.
However, California Fresh Fruit Association (CFFA) president Barry Bedwell said the product has always had a good safety record.
“The proposed ban is a confirmation of the growing trend to ban or severely limit the use of pesticides due to selective and largely inaccurate portrayals by anti-pesticide activist groups,” he told www.freshfruitportal.com.
“As an example, activists point as one of the factors that ‘dozens of workers’ have been sickened due to the use of this product. However given the use by literally hundreds of thousands of agricultural workers over the years, the fact is that the product actually has a very good safety record.
“Keep in mind that the misuse of any product such as a pesticide can result in negatives consequences but when used properly, workers are kept safe and pests are eliminated as intended.”
He added that chlorpyrifos was a ‘very important’ product with a high level of efficacy for a “large number of crops in treating destructive pests that can materially limit production.”
“If this material were to be banned, growers would have to turn to other materials that are less effective and more costly,” Bedwell said.
“Unfortunately, the net result might be the use of even larger quantities of lesser effective pesticides at a greater cost to the grower and ultimately to the consumer.”
The EPA said it would take public comments on the proposal for at least two months, with a final rule expected in December 2016. The rule would not take effect until 2017 at the earliest.