Uses of The Complex Pesticide Approved by US Environment Agency

Uses of The Complex Pesticide Approved by US Environment Agency

On Thursday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it would not ban the insecticide chlorpyrifos-the latest development in a years-long legal fracas over the chemical, which has been linked to brain damage in children and agricultural workers, per the agency's own research.

The agency denied the request by a dozen environmental groups, led by Earth justice, to ban the pesticide.

But in 2017, the EPA administrator at the time, Scott Pruitt, reversed the decision saying: "We need to provide regulatory certainty to the thousands of American farms that rely on chlorpyrifos, while still protecting human health and the environment". EPA denied objections to the agency's 2017 order denying a 2007 petition from the Pesticide Action Network North America, and the Natural Resources Defense Council to cancel all registrations for the insecticide. The company is now a part of Corteva Agriscience. As for the EPA, it says it will continue to review chlorpyrifos and will once again make a decision in 2022.

"EPA has determined that their objections must be denied because the data available are not sufficiently valid, complete or reliable to meet petitioners' burden to present evidence demonstrating that the tolerances are not safe".

The pesticide has been largely phased out of residential use since 2000, but its agricultural use remains widespread.

"The Trump EPA's reckless approval...without any public process is a bad blow to imperiled pollinators", said Lori Ann Burd, director of the Center for Biological Diversity's environmental health program. This is despite EPA's admission in 2015 that it was "unable to conclude that the risk from aggregate exposure from the use of chlorpyrifos" met federal safety standards. The announcement came Thursday. The agency is required by law to preiodically review chemicals.

"Caroline Cox, a senior scientist at the Center for Environmental Health, said chlorpyrifos was a unique case, given that the research was abundant and no longer ambiguous", The Guardian's Sam Levin writes.

"To me, this starts the clock on the use of chlorpyrifos on food crops in the U.S.", says Kevin Minoli, a former senior EPA attorney, in an interview with the Associate Press.

According to the EPA, chlorpyrifos is used on soybeans, fruit and nut trees, brussels sprouts, cranberries, broccoli, and cauliflower, as well as other row crops.

Several states are already banning or moving to ban chlorpyrifos, including Hawaii and NY. That was " the promise of DuPont" at the 1964 New York World's Fair.

Caroline Cox, a senior scientist at the Center for Environmental Health, said chlorpyrifos was a unique case, in that the evidence was abundant on how unsafe it was. "This administration is putting children, workers and rural families across the country at continued risk for no good reason, and we will continue to press for a full federal ban of this unsafe chemical", Kristin Schafer, executive director of the advocacy group Pesticide Action Network, said in an email.

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