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Reactions To The EPA’s Refusal To Ban Chlorpyrifos

On March 29, 2017, the Environmental Protection Agency announced it will not ban chlorpyrifos—a dangerous neurotoxic pesticide widely used in agriculture and linked to many health hazards, particularly damage to children’s brains.

Chlorpyrifos, is an organophosphate insecticide that is sprayed on a variety of crops including apples, oranges, strawberries, and other foods that are widely consumed by children. It can cause long-term damage to children’s developing brains and nervous systems at low levels of exposure during pregnancy and early childhood.

Seventeen years, ago, the EPA eliminated all home uses of the pesticide, but re-approved its use in agriculture, allowing continued risk of poisoning of farmworkers, their children and rural families. (Learn more: press release and the chlorpyrifos explainer.)

Statements in reaction to the EPA's refusal to ban chlorpyrifos:

Erik Nicholson

United Farm Workers National Vice President, (206) 255-5774

“EPA’s refusal to ban chlorpyrifos means farmworkers, their children and others still can’t escape exposure because the poison will still be in their air they breathe, in the food they eat, the soil where children play. We all have a basic right to a healthy life—we will redouble our efforts to reach that goal and we won’t allow EPA to abandon the interests of farmworkers, their children, and vulnerable communities.”

Elena Rios, MD

President and CEO of the National Hispanic Medical Association, (202) 628-5895

“EPA’s refusal to ban chlorpyrifos is shameful. EPA eliminated this neurotoxic threat from household uses years ago, but not from agriculture to protect workers and their families. How much longer must we wait for EPA to do the right thing? This pesticide will continue to poison children and many others.”

Brent Wilkes

Executive Director of the League of United Latin American Citizens, (202) 509-9574

“By refusing to ban this hazardous pesticide, the EPA is blatantly placing the profits of the pesticide industry over the wellbeing of farmworkers, their children and others. We won’t allow the EPA to keep ignoring the safety of vulnerable workers and their families in rural areas.”

Jeannie Economos

Pesticide Safety and Environmental Health Project Coordinator at the Farmworker Association of Florida, (407) 886-5151

"It is deeply disturbing that under this new Administrator at EPA, the agency has put farmworkers and the public's food at risk. A total ban of chlorpyrifos is the only acceptable option for farmworkers and their families.”

Hector E. Sanchez

Executive Director of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, (202) 508-6918

“It is shameful that EPA, an agency that is mandated to protect people and communities, refuses to ban chlorpyrifos despite the harmful health impacts it has on children and farmworkers. Due to under-reporting, we will never know the total number of people injured by this dangerous pesticide. Without a chlorpyrifos ban, we certainly know that more and more farmworkers and their children will be poisoned.”

Amy Liebman

Director of Environmental and Occupational Health at the Migrant Clinicians Network, (512) 579-4535

“It’s absolutely frustrating that EPA refuses to ban chlorpyrifos and protect the next generation. If you are a farmworker, you and members of your family are still being exposed to something that’s been deemed too dangerous to use in homes. The scientific evidence is overwhelming of what happens to children who are exposed, even at very low levels, to chlorpyrifos. Everyone deserved a chance to live and work free of this dangerous pesticide.”

Mark Magaña

President and CEO of GreenLatinos, (202) 230-2070

“Historically, farm workers have been excluded from a range of federal protections and this Administration seeks to perpetuate that disparity. Ensuring that our nation’s most vulnerable communities secure parity in protections from toxic exposure, and chemicals like chlorpyrifos, is paramount for GreenLatinos, and a continuation of our commitment to the Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS).”

Virginia Ruiz

Director of Occupational & Environmental Health at Farmworker Justice, (202) 800-2520

“EPA failed farmworkers, their children, and many others when it refused to totally ban chlorpyrifos. This hazardous pesticide was banned from household use 17 years ago, but farmworkers and their families continue to be exposed to this dangerous chemical that causes brain damage to children and poisons workers and bystanders. EPA could have ended this terrible double standard. Instead, the agency did nothing.”

Ramon Ramirez

President of Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (PCUN, Oregon’s farmworker union), (503) 989-0073

“EPA just keeps putting the blinders on when it comes to all the harmful health effects of chlorpyrifos. The agency must find long-lasting solutions to the needs of farmworker families, not feed the greed of the pesticide industry.”

Maureen Swanson

Director of the Healthy Children Project at the Learning Disabilities Association of America

“EPA failed to protect people, especially children and pregnant women, from chlorpyrifos—a highly dangerous pesticide that threatens brain development. This pesticide will continue to poison children and more families will cope with learning and developmental disabilities and attention problems.”