EPA Denies Activists' Petition to Cancel Chlorpyrifos

The California Farm Bureau urged the EPA not to ban the chemical, saying it was an essential pest control tool. "Requiring regulations to be based on publicly available science and reforming the Science Advisory Board will improve transparency, allow independent evaluation of the scientific data the EPA uses, and allow more public input on the impact of EPA regulations".

More recent research led agency scientists to recommend late a year ago that it be banned from agricultural use, because of potential harms including learning and memory declines.

The insecticide which has been used since 1965 was banned for home use in 2000, and continues to be used on approximately 40,000 farms throughout the U.S. While the administration says it is moving toward making US energy independent, climate change advocates see a potential threat to public health.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture praised Pruitt's action.

Fruit and vegetable farmers use this chemical on citrus trees, strawberries, broccoli and cauliflower.

As if it weren't obvious enough that the new Environmental Protection Agency head does not care for science or public safety, Scott Pruitt has chose to ignore his own agency's scientific recommendations and instead continue to approve the use of a seemingly risky insecticide on crops. "EPA is defying its legal obligation to protect children from unsafe pesticides".

In 2015, the EPA proposed a ban on chlorpyrifos. The EPA chief said in a statement his agency is "returning to using sound science" to make decisions.

The insecticide was invented by Dow Chemical Company and has been made and sold by many companies under a number of brand names including Dursban, Lorsban, Bolton Insecticide, Nufos, Cobalt, Hatchet, and Warhaw. On Wednesday, Trump's EPA approved the use of a pesticide that's especially risky to children, despite evidence that chlorpyrifos, the pesticide in question, has negative effects on children's I.Q.s and nervous system functionality, while also causing attention deficit disorders. The move stemmed from a 2007 petition filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Pesticide Action Network North America.

Under former Administrator Gina McCarthy-President Obama's second nominee to run the agency-the EPA worked to solidify the scientific justification for revoking the tolerances, including a human health risk assessment that relied in part on a controversial epidemiological study from Columbia University on children's health effects.

"Based on the harm that this pesticide causes, the EPA can not, consistent with the law, allow it in our food", says Patti Goldman, an attorney with the environmental advocacy group Earthjustice. "I just don't know what basis they would have to deny the petition [to ban chlorpyrifos], given the vast scientific record that the EPA's got right now".

  • Carolyn Briggs