In August, the EPA listened to farmworker groups, public health advocates, its own scientists, and 50,000 Earthjustice supporters who called on it to ban the dangerous pesticide chlorpyrifos. This victory was more than a decade in the making and could not have happened without the persistence of advocates who held the government accountable for its responsibility to keep toxics out of our bodies. But chlorpyrifos is only the tip of the iceberg. It’s just one chemical in a class of nerve-agent pesticides called organophosphates, which, like chlorpyrifos, are deeply harmful to children’s brain development and toxic to farmworkers. Join us in calling on the EPA to ban organophosphates.
As with chlorpyrifos, the EPA has documented how harmful these pesticides are, but has done nothing to prevent the harm. On November 18, 2021, we took action to compel the agency to act responsibly. Earthjustice and partners filed a petition (a type of legal request) for the EPA to ban organophosphates. The EPA doesn’t have a choice — it has a legal obligation to protect children’s health — but we’ll be there to hold it accountable should it try to prioritize pesticide profits ahead of public health.
Organophosphates are acutely neurotoxic — meaning that people who are exposed at high doses over a brief period can experience severe neurological symptoms — and are linked to reduced IQ, loss of working memory, and attention deficit disorders in children at low levels of exposure. Organophosphate residue is commonly found on our produce, including leafy greens, berries, and fruits. People living near fields where organophosphate pesticides are used can experience dangerous levels of oral and skin exposure. The only way to eliminate continued exposure is to ban all organophosphates as quickly as possible. The EPA is a public health agency, and we are going to do everything in our power to hold it accountable to its legal obligation to protect farmworkers, children, and communities. Continue the fight by calling on the EPA to comply with the petition and ban organophosphates.