Oregon Phasing Out Chlorpyrifos Use by 2023

Last week, the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) filed Administrative Rules with the Oregon Secretary of State that immediately limits the use of chlorpyrifos-based products and phases out nearly all use by December 31, 2023. 

ODA said they wrote the rules with the help of a “diverse workgroup” of leaders and experts from many backgrounds including agriculture, environmental justice groups, toxicologists, and farmworker health-and-safety organizations. ODA’s goal for these new rules is to reduce the risk potential exposure for “workers and bystanders.”

Chlorpyrifos, a popular “broad-spectrum” insecticide mainly used in Oregon on Christmas trees, leafy greens crops, and alfalfa, has been the subject of many critical studies over the years. To understand why Oregon is taking this action, we’ll first dive into the controversial history of chlorpyrifos.

Chlorpyrifos History & Toxicity Studies

Chlorpyrifos has been registered by the EPA as an insecticide since 1965, and is widely used on nearly 50 different crops including corn, soybeans, and almonds. It’s highly toxic to birds, fish, and bees. Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate, which makes it a “nerve agent” - meaning it kills pests by creating an overstimulation in the nervous system. This effect also makes it highly toxic to birds, fish, and bees. In 2000, prolonged exposure to chlorpyrifos was deemed toxic enough to humans to get most residential uses banned outright.

Between 2000 and 2012, the EPA added additional restrictions on certain crops like tomatoes, and “curbed the insecticide’s use by reducing the rate at which it can be applied and banned its use in certain areas near residential and public spaces.”

Calls to ban all use of chlorpyrifos came from multiple studies linking chlorpyrifos to developmental issues in children. Here are summaries from just a few of the studies:

  • “Low to moderate levels of exposure to the insecticide chlorpyrifos during pregnancy may lead to long-term, potentially irreversible changes in the brain structure of the child, according to a brain imaging study by researchers from the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health at the Mailman School of Public Health, Duke University Medical Center, Emory University, and the New York State Psychiatric Institute. The changes in brain structure are consistent with cognitive deficits found in children exposed to this chemical.” - source
  • “Exposure to the pesticide chlorpyrifos is associated with early childhood developmental delays, according to a study by researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.” - source

  • A UC Davis study found that mothers who live within a mile of fields where chlorpyrifos and other organophosphate pesticides were applied had a 60 percent higher chance of having children with autism spectrum disorder. - source

Studies like these along with pressure from many external forces led the EPA to propose the complete ban of chlorpyrifos in 2015, stating they were “unable to conclude that the risk from aggregate exposure from the use of chlorpyrifos meets the safety standard.” By as late as November 2016, the EPA was still on track to ban all chlorpyrifos use.

But in March 2017, the EPA (under a new administration and with new leadership), overturned these efforts and stated it won’t outright ban chlorpyrifos “without first attempting to come to a clearer scientific resolution” on the matter, a task it’s set to complete by 2022. A few studies (one from China and another from Canada) that influenced the EPA’s 2017 decision did not find any association between organophosphates developmental issues in children. However, the authors of both studies admit limits to their findings, and the doctor who conducted the Chinese study warned “results should be interpreted with caution, and more studies of children living in China are warranted. 

With a federal-level ban off the table for the time being, states are taking action. In recent years, California, New York, Hawaii, and Maryland have either banned or greatly limited chlorpyrifos use. Now, with the context established, we return to Oregon. 

Oregon’s New Rules

According to ODA, the following measures are effective immediately upon rule adoption:

  • Use of chlorpyrifos for mosquito vector control, golf course turfgrass, and certain types of enclosed structures is prohibited
  • A 4-day restricted entry interval after use for all crops, including nursery and Christmas Trees.
  • Aerial application is prohibited on all crops, except for a very narrow window of time on Christmas trees.
  • All applicators must pass a pesticide certification exam and obtain a license.
  • Respiratory protection requirements are increased.
  • Recordkeeping is required, and must be maintained for at least three years.
  • To protect bystanders and water quality, expanded buffers are required around sensitive sites and waterways.

Effective January 1, 2021

  • All products containing chlorpyrifos will be restricted-use, except for cattle ear tags. 

Effective March 1, 2021

  • All mixer or loaders of chlorpyrifos must either be a certified and licensed pesticide applicator, or have successfully completed a special training conducted or approved by ODA.

After December 31, 2023

  • It is prohibited to use or sell chlorpyrifos except for:
    • Commercial pre-plant seed treatments
    • Granular formulations
    • Cattle ear-tags

The final rule prohibits aerial application on all crops, except Christmas trees, for a ten-week window between April 1 and June 15. This permitted window will be prohibited after December 31, 2023, providing a transition period for the nation’s largest Christmas tree industry.

"We feel like we came up with a rule that gives some flexibility to the agricultural community, and is protective of workers, bystanders and water quality," said Rose Kachadoorian, ODA pesticides program manager. "We will work with the industries as best we can to help find alternatives."

What do you think of this latest chlorpyrifos ruling? Do you think more states should follow Oregon? Let us know on social media!


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2020 Recap: Positive Pest Control Company News

We know - this has been a weird year. With so many annual routines disrupted and the seemingly endless negative news cycle, we want to highlight various stories from the past year that show the many ways pest management professionals like you have made a positive difference in local communities.

Meeting Surging Demand

Thanks to a survey of over 3,000 households from Smith’s Pest Management in California, we have an idea of how the pandemic created a surge in “unwelcome house guests” across the country. One big reason for the increase in household pests, according to the survey, comes from increased household waste. 

In Michigan alone, the survey found a 24% increase of pests since the start of the stay-at-home orders. Click here if you want to look at an interactive map and see the numbers for your state!

Despite these rising numbers, you and your pest management colleagues from across the nation did and continue to do the essential work of keeping full homes (and empty offices/restaurants) safe from pests. And speaking of restaurants...

Supporting Local Communities

Keeping Out Unwelcome Diners

With many states enacting renewed pandemic safety orders, such as closing indoor dining at restaurants, one pest control company in Fort Wayne, IN is stepping up and making a difference.

Ben’s Bugs Be Gone is offering free pest control throughout the winter for local privately owned restaurants. The owner, Ben Williams, is a COVID-19 survivor who said his recovery experience changed his perspective. Now that he’s working again, he wanted to give back to the community. 

Williams says he knows local restaurants and businesses are struggling, and with these facilities closed, they will most likely have to deal with whatever pests made their way in, while the business was on its way out.

Partnering With Local Charities

We know there are plenty of pest control businesses that have helped their local communities; probably too many to count! But here are three examples that may inspire you or your business.

Near the end of November, P.E.S.T. Relief International (which here stands for Professionals Empowering, Sustaining and Transforming) showed its support for military veterans by creating the “A Bag of REST” project that launched during the Certified Pest Control Operators (CPCO) of Georgia conference. 

During the CPCP, participating pest management professionals carefully filled backpacks with toiletry kits, masks, snacks, and personal notes of encouragement. Project sponsors included Target Specialty Products and Bug Off Pest Control Center.

After the event, Andrea Hancock, founder of P.E.S.T. Relief International and vice president of Mattress Safe, drove the backpacks down to the Elks Lodge in St. Petersburg, FL, where she distributed them to local veterans residing at the Bay Pines Veterans Administration Healthcare System.

“I had the pleasure of meeting four veterans who were homeless and offered them a Bag of REST as a tangible way to show our deep appreciation for the sacrifice they made for our country,” Hancock said.

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In early fall, Logan, Utah-based Fox Pest Control and the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Utah threw Mason, a local teenager, a “reveal event” in which he learned he was selected by the foundation to grant his wish.

Fox Pest Control made the reveal event possible by contacting several local businesses to help donate food, supplies, and funds. Make-A-Wish Foundation Community Manager Melanie Rossiter described working with the Fox Pest Control team as “an absolute joy.” 

“Fox embodies what it means to be a partner that truly puts the wish kid first. Every detail of the evening was clearly based all around Mason’s interests and favorite things. We are so grateful to grant wishes with such a generous, thoughtful, community-oriented business,” Rossiter said.

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If you’re thinking that you can’t do anything “big” like these last few examples, take a look at what Miller Pest & Termite from Missouri did back in November. When it comes to supporting your community, even the “little things” make a big difference.

To commemorate Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the team at Miller Pest & Termite automatically donated $10 for every new service it signed on to the Pink Tractor Foundation, a Non-Profit Organization that raises money to help local families fighting cancer.

Additionally, the company also matched customer donations up to $1,000 in total donations. Miller said it is proud to have raised a total of $1,120 for the Pink Tractor Foundation. This charity is one Miller felt strongly about supporting since some of its own families have been affected by Breast Cancer.

Adapting To Meet New Needs

Back in July, Arizona-based Truly Nolen Pest Control made the news for adapting their business to exterminate not household pests, but COVID-19. After Truly Nolen Pest Control realized they were already using an effective COVID-19 “killer” sanitizing spray for cleaning up after rat infestations, they decided to start a new side “business.”

Truly Nolen worked out procedures for a program called Truly Sanitized, developed training and then started offering their new service. Mark Ringlstetter with Truly Nolen said he sees the value in large scale sanitation for his pest control business.

“I would imagine [the pandemic has] changed everyone's perception of how to protect yourself against things like the common cold or even the flu. So I think you're going to see some public behavioral changes with the way they go about things.”

Are there things you or your business has done to help your community during the pandemic? We’d love to hear about it! Let us know on social media or email us for a chance to be featured in a future blog!


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Study Shows Many Pesticide Labels Don’t Follow EPA Guidelines

According to a study by the Oregon State University (OSU) Extension Service, over 30% of pesticide labels fail to follow Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommendations and provide incorrect information about their toxicity to honey bees. The research, which was discovered by an unsuspecting young student, may be used by regulators to identify labels that need amending. 

"I kind of stumbled onto this research project by accident," said Matthew Bucy, now a pesticide registration specialist at the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

While working as an OSU undergraduate honors student, he read through hundreds of pesticide labels in order to update a data table. After studying 232 insecticide labels, Bucy discovered a clear pattern. About a third of the labels deviated from EPA recommendations, and many didn't list accurate details about their residual or acute toxicity.

Rose Kachadoorian, a pesticide specialist at the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA), and formerly an adviser on Bucy's thesis committee, said the pesticides weren't misbranded or mislabeled intentionally; “they're just old.” “A lot of the language is what we call legacy language," said Kachadoorian.

Bucy's “accidental” discovery turned into a major research project that has continued well past his graduation. Kachadoorian, Bucy, and experts at the ODA formed a working group called The Oregon Bee Project to address the labeling problem. While they continue to hold workshops that try to educate pesticide applicators, they expect changing label language will take time.

Kachadoorian said her ultimate vision is to create a standardized labeling system for pesticides.

“Look at FDA pharmaceutical labels, she said, they all have similar formatting.”

“You know where to look on the label to find things like dosage and possible side effects. But pesticide labels look different across companies, making information harder to find.”

Bucy said his groundbreaking research as a student led to his job in pesticide work at ODA, where he hopes to continue helping the agricultural community.

"I read a few hundred labels. Why not read a few hundred — or thousand — more?" he said.


While you may never have to read hundreds of labels all at once, make sure you understand the ones you do need to read with our Reading the Pesticide Label: Beyond the Basics video course!

You’ll find that course, and many others, included in our Oregon Pesticide Applicator Continuing Education Bundles - register now before the December 31st deadline


You can read the entire unedited article here


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New Pesticide Law Introduced in US Senate

Earlier this month, Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Joe Neguse (D-Colo.) introduced the Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act of 2020 (PACTPA) to the Senate. The purpose of PACTPA is to fix loopholes within the current pesticide-related legislation, and ban “some of the most damaging pesticides scientifically known to cause significant harm to people and the environment.”

According to the official PACTPA press packet, “Approximately one-third of annual U.S. pesticide use — over 300 million pounds from 85 different pesticides — comes from pesticides that are banned in the European Union. The pesticide regulation statute, the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act of 1972 (FIFRA), contains many loopholes that put the interests of the pesticide industry above the health and safety of people and our environment.”

This is the main issue that PACTPA addresses: the fact that the EPA approves many pesticides deemed unsafe in other countries, and that these pesticides are still used years after it’s determined they’re unsafe. In order to correct these issues, and protect pesticide applicators and US residents alike, PACTPA proposes the outright ban of the following pesticides:

  1. Organophosphate insecticides: which are designed to target the neurological system and have been linked to neurodevelopmental damage in children.
  2. Neonicotinoid insecticides: which have contributed to pollinator collapse around the world (the European Union and Canada have significantly restricted or banned their use to protect pollinators and other wildlife) and have recently been shown to cause developmental defects, heart deformations, and muscle tremors in unborn children.
  3. Paraquat: which is one of the most acutely toxic herbicides in the world —according to the EPA, just “one sip can kill.” Science has shown that chronic exposure to paraquat increases the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease by 200% to 600%. It is already banned in 32 countries, including the European Union.

The bill also “provides protections for frontline communities that bear the burden of pesticide exposure by:”

  1. Requiring employers of farmworkers to report all pesticide-caused injuries to the EPA, with strong penalties for failure to report injuries or retaliating against workers.
  2. Directing the EPA to review pesticide injury reports and work with the pesticide manufacturers to develop better labeling to prevent future injury.
  3. Requiring that all pesticide label instructions be written in Spanish and in any language spoken by more than 500 pesticide applicators.
  4. Closing dangerous loopholes that have allowed the EPA to issue emergency exemptions and conditional registrations to use pesticides before they have gone through full health and safety review by the agency
  5. Enabling local communities to enact protective legislation and other policies without being vetoed or preempted by state law;
  6. Suspending the use of pesticides deemed unsafe by the E.U. or Canada until they are thoroughly reviewed by the EPA.
  7. Creating a petition process to enable individual citizens to petition the EPA to identify dangerous pesticides so that the EPA would no longer be able to indefinitely allow dangerous pesticides to remain on the market.

As of August 24, the bill is still waiting for a vote.


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EPA Approves New Natural Ingredient for Insect Repellent

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved a new active ingredient for use in insecticides and insect repellents. Nootkatone, discovered and developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), helps repel and kill ticks, mosquitoes, and a wide variety of other biting pests. The CDC’s licensed partner, Evolva, is working with pest control companies for possible commercial partnerships, which could be available as early as 2022.

Unlike some insecticide active ingredients, nootkatone is all natural and smells good enough to eat - because it is! It’s currently a food additive and classified as “generally considered safe” by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). “If you drink Fresca or Squirt, you’ve drunk nootkatone,” said Ben Beard, Ph.D., deputy director of the division of vector-borne diseases at the CDC. While nootkatone itself is food safe, eating any nootkatone-based pest control product is (obviously) not recommended. Food-grade nootkatone products will be very different from pest control ones.

Joel R. Coats, a specialist in insect toxicology at Iowa State University, said his lab found nootkatone to be “an impressive repellent but a weak insecticide.” It repels ticks better than synthetics like DEET, picaridin, or IR3535. And it is their equal at repelling mosquitoes.

Unlike citronella, peppermint oil, lemongrass oil and other repellents based on plant oils, nootkatone does not lose its potency after about an hour, but lasts as long as the synthetics.

According to The New York Times, proposed uses for nootkatone-based repellents include soaps for people in tick-infested areas and insecticide-fused mosquito nets.

What do you think of trying to implement more natural pest control ingredients? Let us know on social media!

 


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Learn the Difference Between the Asian Giant Hornets and this Texas Native Species

This month, many Texas residents mistakenly believed they encountered the Asian giant “murder” hornet. In order to stave off any future bee-related backyard BBQ freakouts, researchers at Texas A&M ArgiLife have released important details regarding these recent “murder hornet” sightings.

David Ragsdale, Ph.D., chief scientific officer and associate director of Texas A&M AgriLife research said his department has received up to 10 photos of various wasps per day from people who think they’re seeing the Asian giant hornet. But what they’re actually looking at is the Texas native cicada killer wasp, or ground hornet. Many pest management agents and specialists around the state have also received “murder hornet” related inquiries.

“Most everyone has seen the cicada killer wasp, that is very large, but has mostly been ignored in the past,” Ragsdale said. “With the most recent news of the Asian giant hornet, they are now paying attention to the native Texas insect.”

Asian giant hornet and cicada killer wasp

How to Tell the Difference

Since the cicada killer wasp and their other native Texan lookalikes are currently going through a case of mistaken identity, below are key differences between them and the Asian giant hornet.

Note: Holly Davis, Ph.D., a Texas A&M AgriLife extension service entomologist in Weslaco said it’s important to know that there have been no confirmed reports of Asian giant hornets in any other U.S. location other than the northwestern corner of Washington state.

Asian Giant Hornet

  • Is 1.5 - 2 inches long
  • Its head is as wide or wider than its shoulders
  • It’s body is a combination of bright orange/yellow and dark brown
  • It has a pinched waist with brown and orange stripes that cover the abdomen

Cicada Killer Wasps

  • All three species are between 1 - 1.5 inches long
  • Their heads are narrower than their thorax
  • Their heads and thorax are typically the same dark orange or brown color
  • They also have a pinched waist, but their abdomen stripes are jagged

Asian giant hornet and Texas native species comparison

Davis says Asian giant hornets are very protective of their nests and will sting people who they view as a threat - but cicada killer wasps are mostly solitary and usually don’t attack in great numbers. Although you likely won’t deal with any Asian giant hornets in upcoming service calls, just helping your customers understand the difference between these species can save their sanity.


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Florida Continuing Education Deadline Update

Last week, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nicole Fried signed order 2020-022. Under this order, all continuing education late fees are waived through August 22, 2020 (instead of July 2nd).

This new order was championed by the Florida Pest Management Association in an effort to further assist Florida’s pest control professionals affected by COVID-19.

If you are still unsure about anything, here are some answers to frequently asked questions:

When must I renew my license?

Florida applicators must renew their licenses every 4 years by the end of the original issue month.

Florida State Licensing Contact Information

Phone: (850) 617-7870
Fax: (850) 617-7895
Web: Florida Department of Agriculture

Who submits my Florida Pesticide Applicator continuing education to the state?

Applicators are responsible for submitting their continuing education credits to the Florida Department of Agriculture. Upon course completion, applicators will be provided with a certificate of completion as well as the required Record of Attendance form.

How do I upload my CEU records to the state?

  1. Download or scan "Record of Attendance"
  2. Visit the website: aesecomm.freshfromflorida.com
  3. Select applicable license type
  4. Click on "Upload Documents" (Not a renewal app)
  5. Type detail information and select "Document Type"
  6. Click on "Browse and Upload document" then "Save"

Are you still working on completing your continuing education?

Certified Training Institute offers online state-approved video courses that are available on any device with an internet connection. 

Authorities Crack Down on Illegal Pesticide Trade in Europe

An investigation from the EU Observer finds that the black market pesticide trade in Europe is a multi-million dollar illegal industry that carries big potential and low risk.

Journalist Staffan Dahllöf says sellers first purchase cheap, black-listed compounds from China then jack up the price when they sell to European buyers.

“A single shipment of 160 tons generates €11.2m. Tax-free and almost completely risk-free,” writes Dahllöf.

European authorities are aware of the operations and are now cracking down. Europol calls their efforts to do so “operation Silver Axe.”

In 2020, 32 countries coordinated efforts to carry out the fifth edition of the mission. Between January to April 2020, Europol seized more than 1.3 tons of illegal pesticides, enough to fill 458 Olympic-sized swimming pools. The worth is roughly valued at more than €94 million.

“Law enforcement authorities carried out inspections on land and sea borders, inland marketplaces and parcel deliveries, checking more than 3,000 tons of pesticides,” said Europol’s press release.

Highlights of this year’s mission include interceptions of non-labeled products in Poland, counterfeit pesticides in Italy, and illegal compounds headed towards Cyprus.

Europol cites studies that show as much as 14% of Europe’s entire pesticide sphere is affected by trafficked, illegal pesticides.

“Some of the organized crime groups trafficking pesticides are also involved in other illegal activities such as trafficking counterfeited cigarettes and illegally trading pharmaceuticals,” says Europol’s release.

The director of the European Crop Protection Association says these products are a risk to human and environmental health.

“This is not just an issue for our companies, whose products are being counterfeited, but more significantly poses a risk to health and the environment,” said Geraldine Kutas in the release.

Since Operation Silver Axe started in 2015, agents have recovered more than 2.5 tons of illegal or counterfeit pesticides.


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Washington State Entomologists Working to Eradicate Invasive Murder Hornets and Gypsy Moths

Just when you thought 2020 couldn’t get worse, an insect known as the “Murder Hornet” has been spotted in the United States.

Entomologists in Washington state have spotted them in at least two areas.

Native to Asia, the Asian Giant Hornet is a staggering two inches long and can deliver nasty, painful stings that can cause death in humans. Unlike bees, they can sting multiple times and an attack releases pheromones that attract other hornets to come attack as well.

In Japan, dozens of people die of stings every year.

But the hornet is not on a mission to attack people. Scientists say that only happens when they’re provoked, or if an unlucky hiker nears their nest. What’s more terrifying is that the “Murder Hornet” does kill bees. Some reports show that the nasty bug rips off the heads of honeybees.

Honeybees are threatened and their population is declining world-wide. Now, scientists are working to get a grip on any predator that could decimate their numbers even more.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture is asking anyone in the public to report sightings immediately.

The department has been busy this season, as reports began to surface that invasive Gypsy Moths had also descended on the Pacific Northwest. The bug is a major threat to local crops.

The moths can fly long distances and defoliate trees and shrubs. That process weakens them and makes them more susceptible to disease.

It’s such a problem that Washington state governor Jay Inslee issued an emergency proclamation in May, saying that there is “imminent danger of an infestation…[which] seriously endangers the agricultural and horticultural industries…and threatens the economic well-being and quality of life of state residents.”

Newsweek reports that Washington state will drop more than 655 gallons of insecticide “to coincide with the Gypsy Moth caterpillar’s emergence in the spring.”

Entomologists in Washington will begin a trapping process to control the hornet’s queen population, as well.


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Journalists Discover Tennessee Officials Distributed Facemasks Treated with Dangerous Pesticide

Many pesticides come with a long warning label, advising customers and applicators to take caution when handling them. Touching, swallowing or inhaling the chemical compounds could have serious health consequences.

Now, Hamilton County Health Department officials in Tennessee are back tracking after investigative journalists discovered that they were giving out face masks treated with the chemical Silvadur.

Reporters at NewsChannel5 in Nashville uncovered documents from the Environmental Protection Agency that state that the product is, in fact, very “harmful if inhaled,” and people should “avoid breathing vapor or spray mist.”

The product is also toxic to fish.

Health officials were giving out the treated masks for free, and the covering was marketed as a “non-toxic silver antimicrobial.”

Dupont manufactures the pesticide, and says silver is a known antimicrobial agent.

“[Silver] has been shown to have a very broad spectrum of activity. Silver ions are extremely effective at controlling the growth of both Gram + and Gram – bacteria. With the controlled release of silver ions found only in the SILVADUR™ antimicrobial polymer system, all bacteria and fungi are extremely susceptible to this technology.”

NewsChannel5 says the state contracted with a North Carolina manufacturer to buy 5 million of them and they had plans to give them out at regular intervals.

WRCBtv obtained a statement from the Hamilton County Health Department, and a representative said “only trace amounts of Silvadur are applied to the fabric and that amount will continually diminish with each wash. Until more data is made available…the public is asked to refrain from using and distributing the masks.”

NewsChannel 5 interviewed a board member of Beyond Pesticides, who shared his skepticism about the face mask product.

"I wouldn't wear one,” said Dr. Warren Porter. "Nobody wants to breathe in COVID, but I wouldn't want to be breathing in something that I also knew could be poisoning my body in a relatively short period of time and might be having multi-year effects on my health."


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