EPA refuses to ban pesticide tied to children's health problems

22 Juillet, 2019, 04:11 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • The EPA said it also was talking with chlorpyrifos makers about further restrictions on how farmers use the pesticide. Pixabay

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.

On July 18, the EPA denied those objections, saying that the data supporting the group's objections were "not supported by valid, complete, and reliable evidence sufficient to meet the Petitioners' burden under the (Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act), as set forth in EPA's implementing regulations".

A federal appeals court had ordered the EPA to withdraw approval for sulfoxaflor in 2015, ruling in a lawsuit brought by U.S. beekeeping groups that not enough was known about what it did to bees.

"Last summer, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the EPA to ban all sales of the pesticide".

In June 2017, several public interest groups-led by Earthjustice and joined by states including NY and California-filed a lawsuit in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to challenge EPA's move.

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"By allowing chlorpyrifos to stay in our fruits and vegetables, Trump's EPA is breaking the law and neglecting the overwhelming scientific evidence that this pesticide harms children's brains", Patti Goldman, an attorney for the environmental law organization Earthjustice, said in a statement cited by Dennis and Epstein.

In 1998, the EPA banned chlorpyrifos for use in households, but allowed its use on food crops and non-residential areas like golf courses, parks and highway medians. "Today's decision underscores the sad truth that as long as the Trump administration is in charge, this EPA will favor the interests of the chemical lobby over children's safety".

Environmental health experts say there's evidence that exposure to even low levels of chlorpyrifos through conventional produce can lead to developmental and cognitive problems in infants and children and that they haven't found a safe level for children or pregnant women. Questions over the safety of chlorpyrifos date back to the Obama administration, when questions were raised on the safety of the chemical. "That review could result in further use limitations affecting the outcome of EPA's assessment". Lawmakers in California and NY are considering banning chlorpyrifos in their jurisdictions.

"The economic and human health impacts are substantial and real", Dr Leonardo Trasande, who directs the division of environmental pediatrics within the department of pediatrics at New York University's Langone Health, told me. It's used on plants like sugar beets, wheat and corn. It flies in the face of decades of strong scientific evidence, and the recommendations of the agency's own scientists. "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.

EPA Assistant Administrator Alexandra Dapolito Dunn said on Friday that new industry studies that have not been made public show a low level of harm to bees and other creatures beyond the targeted crop pests.

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