Products containing an ingredient commonly found in household pesticides that are used to control insects in lawns and gardens are no longer available for residential use or for sale in California retail stores.
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In a recently adopted rule that took effect on Aug. 1, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) banned the sale and general consumer use of products containing the ingredient carbaryl, which the DPR says has played a role in scores of reported skin, eye, and respiratory illnesses over the past several decades.
While carbaryl products will still be available for agricultural use, anyone else hoping to use such products will be required to obtain a license. While pest control professionals are trained on how to safely use pesticides, most residential users are not. According to the DPR, data from the past decade shows the majority of carbaryl-related illnesses were the result of misuse around the home.
Still, Brent Burchett, president of the SLO County Farm Bureau, said he and other farmers expect to see agricultural restrictions on carbaryl and most other pesticides tighten in coming years.
"[Farmers] are all trying to transition to more organic-approved products," Burchett wrote in an email to New Times, "but their efficacy usually does not compare to conventional pesticides."
But farmers in SLO County don't appear to use much carbaryl. In 2017, SLO County farmers reported using 41.11 pounds of carbaryl, according to data collected by the DPR, and reported using just 2.5 pounds in 2016.
According to the DPR, residential and commercial uses account for about 75 percent of carbaryl sales, but SLO County Deputy Agricultural Commissioner Tom Morgan said residential users aren't required to report pesticide use.
"Which is kind of unfortunate," Morgan told New Times, "because it's the home use where some of the issues arise." Δ