EPA Rules it Will Not Ban Chlorpyrifos

The attorney general for the central Mexican state of Nayarit has been arrested in Southern California on charges of drug smuggling. "I was honored to join the president for the signing of this Executive Order, and I look forward to continuing working with the Trump administration to advance environmentally responsible policies that grow the economy - not kill jobs".

After correcting the mistake, the EPA apologized for the mix-up.

"We are pleased with the EPA's decision today to deny a petition against chlorpyrifos and return to the standard pesticides review process as called for under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act", said National Corn Growers Association President Wesley Spurlock in a written statement March 29. In his decision, Pruitt disputed the EPA's methods and questioned the validity of studies used to support the proposed ban.

The appointment of Scott Pruitt as EPA administrator in the Trump administration anxious a lot of people like me because of his long history of attacking the work of the very agency he is now leading. Pruitt's move constitutes a "final agency action" that could prevent the EPA from reconsidering chlorpyrifos until 2022.

Pruitt's decision matches what Dow Chemical Co., which sells the pesticide under the brand name Lorsban, sought in a January letter to the agency.

The pesticide, which has been in use since 1965, has sickened dozens of farmworkers in recent years.

It's worth noting that the Obama administration seems to have dragged its feet on this ban, and that there were some quibbles with the initial, underlying research within the EPA. The agency based part of its scientific justification for doing so on epidemiological studies that measured levels of the chemical in exposed women and children.

Since 1995, the EPA has been debating the safety of a pesticide known as Chlorpyrifos.

"Dow AgroSciences remains confident that authorized uses of chlorpyrifos products offer wide margins of protection for human health and safety", spokesman David Sousa said. Since 2000 when indoor uses of chlorpyrifos were banned-due to concerns about impacts to children's health-numerous studies have tied children's exposures to pesticide residues on fruits and vegetables.

In a statement announcing that the EPA would not ban the chemical, Pruitt echoed the company's stance: That the science is not clear enough, and the burden to farmers of ceasing use of chlorpyrifos would be considerable.

Meanwhile, Dow and farmers groups released statements praising the decision.

"EPA turned a blind-eye to extensive scientific evidence and peer reviews documenting serious harm to children and their developing brains, including increased risk of learning disabilities, reductions in IQ, developmental delay, autism and ADHD", said Miriam Rotkin-Ellman, Senior Scientist at NRDC.

"We have a law that requires the EPA to ban pesticides that it can not determine are safe, and the EPA has repeatedly said this pesticide is not safe", Patti Goldman, managing attorney at Earthjustice, a San Francisco-based environmental group that serves as the legal team for NRDC, told the New York Times.

  • Zachary Reyes