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More than 75,000 People Urge EPA to Ban Seven Dangerous Neurotoxic Pesticides

Class of pesticides puts farmworkers at risk and causes neurodevelopmental harm to children near agricultural fields where spraying occurs, poisons surrounding communities

Agricultural workers in Florida.

Dave Getzschman for Earthjustice
February 23, 2016
Washington, D.C. —

Today, more than 75,000 people urged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ban the use of an entire class of poisonous neurotoxic pesticides from use on crops. The agency is reviewing the registration of seven organophosphate pesticides that have been linked to brain damage, water contamination and other harms; today marks the end of the agency’s public comment period.

The comments, submitted on behalf of Earthjustice, United Farm Workers, Pesticide Action Network, Farmworker Justice, Natural Resources Defense Council, California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, Farm Labor Organizing Committee, and Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste this afternoon, call for an immediate ban on chlorpyrifos-methyl, dicrotophos, dimethoate, ethoprop, profenofos, terbufos and tribufos.

“The continued use of these pesticides is a travesty of justice and science,” said Earthjustice Attorney Matt Baca, on behalf of the groups. “It’s time to get these pesticides out of our bodies, our food, and our water. A total ban is what communities deserve, especially farmworker communities that have disproportionately borne this burden of poisonings and chronic harms for decades. These neurotoxic pesticides are terrible for children, poison workers, and are present in foods and drinking water at unconscionable levels. That’s why tens of thousands have joined together to ask EPA to make a change to protect lives.”

Earthjustice and a broad coalition of partners have been fighting for years to convince EPA officials to ban these pesticides. These drift-prone chemicals can cause serious health harms to those who come into contact with them in agricultural communities across the nation. For several of the pesticides currently under review, residues have been documented by government officials on a wide range of fruits, vegetables and grains.

An extensive body of scientific evidence shows that even at minimal levels of exposure they can damage children’s developing brains, and lead to such alarming deficits as reduced IQ, autism and attention disorders.

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