EPA decides against ban on use of chlorpyrifos on fruits and vegetables

Dow applauds EPA's decision to deny the petition to revoke USA food tolerances and cancel chlorpyrifos registration. Research has since been conducted on its safety, and while at first, it was believed that residue on food was not enough to induce measurable nervous system dysfunction, studies conducted previous year at Columbia University linked the agricultural use of the pesticide to "small but measurable differences in brain function", particularly in children and fetuses, explains NPR.

The National Corn Growers Association today applauded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for dismissing a petition related to the crop protection tool chlorpyrifos.

Environmental groups accused Pruitt of putting the profits of big business over public safety.

"The real question is how much are we contributing to that and measuring that with precision", he said. This is yet another example of EPA Administrator Pruitt's willingness to go against the expertise of the Agency's own staff and sacrifice children's health for industry profits.

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

"To demonstrate the leadership that we have shown on this issue with China and India and other nations is very important and discussions should ensue", Pruitt said on Fox News Sunday, "but what Paris represents is a bad deal for this country".

EPA scientists, however, had previously determined that the chemical - which is already banned in household settings - was indeed unsafe to children and farm workers.

Did the EPA make the right decision to continue allowing use of the pesticide?

In denying the petition, the EPA said it disagreed with the methodology used by the previous administration to justify what amounts to a near-ban of the chemical.

Jim Jones, a former assistant administrator of the EPA who was in-charge of pesticide regulation, admitted that the EPA struggled with translating these findings into a prediction of risks for chlorpyrifos residues on food. EPA states that the "science addressing neurodevelopmental effects remains unresolved", and "further evaluation of the science during the remaining time for completion of registration review is warranted to achieve greater certainty as to whether the potential exists for adverse neurodevelopmental effects to occur from current human exposures to chlorpyrifos". A November 2016 EPA analysis confirmed that the pesticide exceeded "the safety standard under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act". The October 2015 proposal largely relied on certain epidemiological study outcomes, whose application is novel, to reach its conclusions.

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  • Zachary Reyes