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Ban this dangerous chemical from our food

Delivery to EPA Administrator Michael Regan

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What’s At Stake

In a move that put almost anyone who comes into contact with many common foods at risk, the Trump administration’s Environmental Protection Agency refused to ban the toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos.

Based on many scientific studies, the EPA determined that even very low levels of exposure to chlorpyrifos—a pesticide used on staple foods like corn, wheat, apples and citrus—can cause irreparable harm and damage children’s developing brains.

But the Trump administration’s EPA refused to ban this dangerous chemical from our food, a decision that neglects the agency’s own science and puts millions at risk.

Chlorpyrifos contaminates our food and water, and agricultural workers and families in rural communities are at the front lines of exposure to this neurotoxic chemical. Exposing children to chlorpyrifos results in reduced IQ, loss of working memory and attention deficit disorders. Workers poisoned by chlorpyrifos experience vomiting, muscle cramps and twitching, tremors and weakness. This neurotoxic pesticide was banned for residential use nearly two decades ago, so why would the EPA continue to allow it to be used on farms, where it can poison everything it touches?

On his first day in office, President Biden signed an executive order directing EPA to review the Trump administration’s decision to deny a 2007 petition to ban chlorpyrifos on food. With President Biden’s administrator, Michael Regan, at the helm, one of his first actions should be to grant the petition and ban this toxic pesticide immediately.

Earthjustice will hold the EPA accountable. We’re in court asking for an order directing the EPA to put a full ban in place and we’re asking the Biden EPA to right this wrong and ban chlorpyrifos on its own. Join us in urging the government to keep this toxic pesticide out of our food, our water, our schools and yards, and our bodies.

More than half of all apples in the U.S. are sprayed with chlorpyrifos, a pesticide considered too toxic for residential use.
Lance Cheung / USDA

More than half of all apples in the U.S. are sprayed with chlorpyrifos, a pesticide considered too toxic for residential use.

Your Actions Matter

Your messages make a difference, even if we have leaders who don't want to listen. Here's why.

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You level the playing field.

Elected officials pay attention when they see that we are paying attention.

They may be hearing from industry lobbyists left and right, but hearing the stories of their constituents — that’s your power.

Our legislators serve at the pleasure of the people who gave them their job — you. When you contact your elected official, you’re putting a face and a name on an issue. Whether or not you voted for them, they work for you, for the duration of their term.

Make sure your elected officials know whose community and whose values they represent. (Find your local, state, and federal elected officials.)

Your action is with us in court.

If a federal agency finalizes a harmful action, the record of public comments provides a basis for bringing them into court.

Throughout each of the public comment periods we alert you to, Earthjustice’s attorneys are researching and writing in-depth, technical comments to submit — detailing how the regulation could and should be stronger to protect the environment, our communities, and our planet.

We need you to join us — your specific experiences, knowledge, and voice are crucial to add to the Administrative Record through the comment periods.

Lawsuits we file that challenge weak or harmful federal regulations rely on what was submitted during the comment period. The court can only look at documents that are in the Administrative Record — including the public comments — to decide if the agency did something improper.

Your actions aid our litigation. Taking action and submitting comments during a comment period is substantively important.

It’s the law.

Federal agencies must pause what they’re doing and ask for — and consider — your comment.

Many of us may have never heard of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), but laws like these require our government to ask the public to weigh in before agencies adopt or change regulations.

Regulations essentially describe how federal agencies will carry out laws — including decisions that could undermine science, or weaken safeguards on public health.

Public comments are collected at various points throughout the federal government’s rulemaking process, including when a regulation is proposed and finalized. (Learn more about the rulemaking process.) These comments become part of the official, legal public record — the “Administrative Record.”

When the public responds with a huge outpouring of support for environmental protections, these individual messages collectively undercut politicians' attempts to claim otherwise.

What this means is each of us can take a role in shaping the rules our government creates — and ensuring those rules are fair and effective.