Twelve public health, food safety and conservation organisations have stopped the state of California from blanket insecticide spraying.

Under the law, authorities must reveal how spraying could affect the environment and the public.

One of the organisations that took the California’s Department of Food and Agriculture to court is the Center for Food Safety. West Coast director Rebecca Spector says that, “The state must prioritize providing more resources to help farmers transition to practices that reduce the need for pesticides and instead promote ecologically based farming practices that protect people and the Earth.”

The CDFA was hoping to have the freedom to implement its pest management program on public land, private residential land, farmland and in the wild.

However, the 12 organisations successfully argued that the chemicals used are known to cause cancer and birth defects, and to be highly toxic to bees, butterflies, fish and birds.

Those pesticides include neonicotinoids that are highly toxic to pollinators like bees as well as crustaceans and molluscs, and the chemical warfare agent chloropicrin, which causes genetic damage.