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No Ban On Pesticide Chemical Linked To Brain Damage

A close-up of a pesticide warning sign in a field.

American farms use chlorpyrifos between 6 million and 10 million pounds on a variety of crops, including more than half of all apples and broccoli sold in the US. (Austin Valley/flickr)

The EPA announced this week it will not ban a pesticide chemical linked to brain damage in children.

Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate, a class of chemicals that includes sarin nerve gas and works by attacking the nervous system. 

Chlorpyrifos is sold in products made by Dow Chemical, with Lorsban being the most well-known. Though chlorpyrifos has been banned in household products since 2001, it is still allowed in agricultural pesticides. In fact, it’s sometimes referred to as the “Coca-Cola of pesticides” because of the frequency of its use: American farms use between 6 million and 10 million pounds on a variety of crops, including more than half of all apples and broccoli sold in the US. 

In 2016, the EPA released the Chlorpyrifos Revised Human Health Risk Assessmentwarning that chlorpyrifos and other pesticides can cause intelligence deficits and attention, memory, and motor problems in children. According to the report, 1- and 2-year-old children risk exposures from food alone are 14,000 percent higher the level the agency now thinks is safe.

But despite mounting evidence, the EPA will leave chlorpyrifos on the market, saying “critical questions remained regarding the significance of the data” that suggests that chlorpyrifos causes neurological damage in young children. 

“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. 

“It is a tragedy that this administration sides with corporations instead of children’s health.”

Read More:

  • Poison Fruit: Dow Chemical Wants Farmers to Keep Using a Pesticide Linked to Autism and ADHD (The Intercept
  • E.P.A. Won’t Ban Chlorpyrifos, Pesticide Tied to Children’s Health Problems (New York Times
  • EPA Refuses to Ban Dangerous Pesticide Chlorpyrifos Linked to Brain Damage in Children (Democracy Now!)
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