The California Citrus Mutual (CCM) says that yesterday's announcement by state authorities that they are beginning to implement a ban on chlorpyrifos was based on a flawed evaluation.
On Wednesday the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) released a statement saying that they are going to start the cancellation process of the common pesticide.
The statement cites scientific findings that chlorpyrifos poses serious public health and environmental risks to vulnerable communities, but the CCM says that the ban is unjustified.
"The decision to ban chlorpyrifos is not surprising given the significant pressure from anti-pesticide groups, active legislative proposals, regulatory proceedings, and ongoing court battles," said CCM president Casey Creamer.
"However, this decision relies heavily on an evaluation that was significantly flawed and based upon unrealistic modeling scenarios that are not verifiable by actual results in DPR's own air monitoring network."
He went on to say that the CCM and its member growers "stand by science that is sound, that properly evaluates risks, and puts forward appropriate safeguards".
"We are committed to safe and effective use of chlorpyrifos and other crop protection tools," he said.
"The process for which this chemical was evaluated was purposely exaggerated to achieve a desired outcome and jeopardizes the scientific credibility of the Department of Pesticide Regulation. This decision sets a terrible precedent for future evaluations and creates a chilling effect on companies planning on making significant investments to bring new products to the market in California."
Highlighting the decline of the Florida citrus industry, which has been devastated by citrus greening disease, also known as Huanglongbing, Creamer said: "We must have the necessary tools in the toolbox for an effective Integrated Pest Management program."
"California Citrus Mutual will continue to be actively engaged in the regulatory processes around the cancellation decision and will continue to explore all potential remedies to allow the safe and effective use of Chlorpyrifos," he said.