E2SSB 6518

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.


Synopsis as Enacted

Brief Description: Reducing prenatal exposure and harm to children by limiting environmental exposure to certain pesticides.

Sponsors: Senate Committee on Ways & Means (originally sponsored by Senators Rolfes, Van De Wege and Wilson, C.).

Senate Committee on Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources & Parks

Senate Committee on Ways & Means

House Committee on Rural Development, Agriculture, & Natural Resources

House Committee on Appropriations

Background: The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) administers the federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, as well as the state Pesticide Control Act and the state Pesticide Application Act. Its activities include adopting rules requiring the registration and restricted use of pesticides, testing and certifying pesticide applicators, issuing handler and worker pesticide training documentation, and providing technical assistance to pesticide applicators and workers.

Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate pesticide used in agricultural, non-agricultural, and residential areas to control insects. It is used to kill a number of pests on crops such as fruit trees, corn, cranberries, grapes, mint, onion and wheat, as well as at turf farms, golf courses, and greenhouses.

Since 1965, chlorpyrifos has been registered with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use in agricultural and non-agricultural areas. It may be applied by both ground and aerial equipment. In November 2016, EPA revised its human health risk assessment and drinking water exposure assessment for chlorpyrifos. The revised analysis shows risks from dietary exposure and drinking water. EPA plans to continue to review the science addressing neurodevelopmental effects and complete its assessment by October 1, 2022.

Summary: The director of WSDA must adopt emergency rules that include specific control measures for chlorpyrifos and are designed to reduce emissions sufficiently so the public is not subject to levels of exposure that may cause or contribute to significant adverse health effects. The emergency rules must take effect by January 1, 2022.

Subject to amounts appropriated, the Washington State Commission on Pesticide Registration must work with agricultural grower groups who presently use chlorpyrifos to research alternative pest control strategies. Additional funding must be provided to WSDA for training and enforcement of the Washington Pesticide Application Act.

Votes on Final Passage:







(House amended)




(Senate concurred)