The EPA has made its last play in a long game of regulatory tug of war regarding the controversial insecticide chlorpyrifos, as the New York Times reports.
The epic legal battle unfolded after President Obama initially banned the use of chlorpyrifos in 2015 due to concerns that even low exposures caused neurodevelopmental impacts in children. But the ban had not yet gone into effect when the Trump administration took over, and Scott Pruitt’s EPA reversed the decision in 2017.
This move prompted a slew of legal challenges, and chlorpyrifos use has been up in the air since then. But this week’s announcement by the EPA gives the pesticide, which is manufactured by Corteva Agriscience and sold under the brand name Lorsban, a green light.
In an editorial entitled “The pesticide the EPA knows harms children but approved anyway,” the Baltimore Sun Editorial Board called the EPA’s decision “wrong, wrong, wrong.” They write that the agency’s “primary mission is not to protect the profitability of the chemical industry or even farmers who may find chlorpyrifos an affordable and convenient product but have other pesticide alternatives available to them.”
More lawsuits are expected as public health defenders and environmental groups vow to challenge this latest ruling. But for now, it will mean that chlorpyrifos residues will continue to show up on fruit and vegetables grown in the U.S. To learn more about what produce is more likely to contain chlorpyrifos contamination, see our Dietary Risk Index.
Baltimore Sun Editorial Board, “The pesticide the EPA knows harms children but approved anyway,” The Baltimore Sun, Date Posted: July 22, 2019, Date Accessed: July 24, 2019.
Lisa Friedman, “E.P.A. Won’t Ban Chlorpyrifos, Pesticide Tied to Children’s Health Problems,” The New York Times, Date Posted: July 18, 2019, Date Accessed: July 24, 2019.