EPA bans “chlorpyrifos products”: The Biden administration said on Wednesday it was banning chlorpyrifos products, a widely used pesticide that is a long-term target for environmentalists on food crops because it poses risks to children and farmworkers.
The Environmental Protection Agency worked after a federal appeals court ordered the government in April to quickly determine whether the pesticide was safe or banned.
Under the Obama administration, the EPA launched the ban, but the agency reversed that decision shortly after President Donald Trump took office in 2017.
“Today the EPA is taking late steps to protect public health,” said Administrator Michael Reagan. “After delays and rejections of early administration, the EPA follows science and puts health and safety first.”
Chlorpyrifos is applied to many crops, including soybeans, fruits, and nuts, broccoli, and cauliflower. It is more likely to cause brain damage in children.
The Pesticide Action Network North America and the Natural Resources Defense Council petitioned the EPA in 2007 to abolish all dietary approved chlorpyrifos levels.
“The EPA is once again pleased to adopt the best available science when making critical regulatory decisions,” said Eddie Bernice Johnson, chairwoman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.
The EPA found that chlorpyrifos did not meet the legally required reasonable accuracy that exposure to pesticides was not harmful.
Some states, including the European Union, Canada, and California, Hawaii, New York, Maryland, and Oregon, have restricted food consumption. Those restrictions – and the development of alternative pest controls – have led to a decline in farmers’ use of chlorpyrifos, the EPA said.
“The ban will protect farmworkers, their families, unions, and the food supply,” Allison Johnson, a lawyer with the NRDC, said. “The EPA is finally pursuing its own results on this toxic pesticide.”
Theresa Romero, president of United Farm Workers, said the group was “relieved that farmworkers and their families no longer had to worry about the many ways this pesticide could affect their lives.”
Corteva Inc. is the largest manufacturer of pesticides in the world, but ceased production last year. The company, which was created after the Dow Chemical and Dupont merger, has previously said that declining sales will drive its decision and that chlorpyrifos is safe.
The EPA decision “effectively eliminates an important tool for farmers,” the company said in a statement, “the rationale used by the agency appears to be inconsistent with the complete and robust database of more than 4,000 studies and reports examined. Production in terms of health, safety, and the environment.”
The EPA said it would continue to review whether to allow the use of chlorpyrifos for purposes not directly related to food production, such as livestock ear tags and mosquito control.
Bills were introduced in Congress seeking to ban the use of chlorpyrifos and similar pesticides.