NCGA Applauds EPA Decision on Chlorpyrofis

Andrew Cummings
April 2, 2017

The petition the new EPA administrator denied sought to revoke all pesticide tolerances, referred to as maximum residue levels in food, for chlorpyrifos and cancel all chlorpyrifos registrations.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently dismissed a petition regarding the crop protection tool chlorpyrifos, a decision the National Corn Growers Association praises. "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".

The New York Timesreported that chlorpyrifos has been in use since 1965 under the trade name Lorsban, and that EPA scientists concluded previous year that existing agricultural uses were "potentially causing significant health consequences", including learning and memory declines among farm workers and young children.

While discussing President Donald Trump's executive order on climate in an interview on "Fox News Sunday", Pruitt argued that one goal of the EPA is to measure just how much humans are accelerating climate change.

The hazards of chlorpyrifos exposure in children led the EPA to ban it from most household products, like pet "flea bombs" and lawn sprays, in 2000. "Up until last night, EPA explained that because of these risks a ban was needed to protect children's health". Exposure to chlorpyrifos during pregnancy resulted in structural changes to the developing fetus' brain, and abnormal brain changes that began in utero continued through childhood, especially in brain regions responsible for decision making, language, and memory, according to a Columbia University study.

In 2015, President Barack Obama's EPA proposed that the pesticide not be used on food, after the agency found "evidence that prenatal exposure can pose risks to fetal brain and nervous system development". The insecticide has been on the market for more than 50 years and is used in close to 100 countries on 50 crops. "That led the staff to revise the way it had justified its findings of harm, although the agency employees as of late a year ago still concluded that the chemical should be banned". Environmentalists, on the other hand, are unsettled and alleging that corporate lobbying influence from companies like chlorpyrifos manufacturer Dow Jones tilted the scales. This is yet another example of EPA Administrator Pruitt's willingness to go against the expertise of the Agency's own staff and sacrifice children's health for industry profits.

Pruitt's ban will likely put off any pesticide ban until 2022, when the agency is formally mandated to re-evaluate chlorpyrifos. The Trump Administration sided with pesticide and farm groups and reversed EPA's earlier decision.

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