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Tell Congress to ban organophosphates

What's At Stake

Our food system exploits the earth and poisons the farmworkers who keep everyone fed — but it doesn’t have to be that way. One small step Congress could take would be to ban organophosphates, a class of neurotoxic chemicals that are widely used as pesticides, in food production. Join us in telling your representative to support a ban on organophosphates. 

Organophosphates are acutely neurotoxic — meaning that people who are exposed at high doses over a brief period can experience severe neurological symptoms. For children, even low levels of exposure have been linked to reduced IQ, loss of working memory, and attention deficit disorders. 

In late 2021, Earthjustice filed a petition to ban organophosphates and two years later we have no indication that the EPA will follow through and implement this common-sense ban. It took us 15 years of advocacy — filing lawsuits, fighting delays, and making public comments — to get the EPA to stop dragging its feet on the use of chlorpyrifos on food, one type of organophosphate, and we expect to face the same resistance moving forward. In fact, EPA just announced its new approach to organophosphates, which will weaken protections for children based on new tests that the agency’s own Scientific Advisory Panel found are inadequate for determining whether these dangerous chemicals would cause learning disabilities. 

But the EPA is just one avenue for change — Congress also has the responsibility to do right by the farmworkers and food eaters (that’s everyone) that are exposed to organophosphates. A bill was just reintroduced in the House of Representatives that would ban organophosphates in food (which is the vast majority of uses), and we need your help to advocate for its passage. 

Rep. Nydia Velazquez (NY-07) reintroduced H.R. 5554, the Ban All Neurotoxic Organophosphate Pesticides (BAN OPs) From Our Food Act — and it would be a huge victory for public health. Join us in calling on your representative to cosponsor the bill. 

No one is safe from organophosphate exposure. Farmworkers tasked with applying organophosphate pesticides are at the greatest risk, and farmworker advocacy groups have long fought to ban these toxic chemicals because of this. Organophosphate exposure isn’t limited to the farm — it lingers on produce like leafy greens and fruit and contaminates drinking water. People living near fields where organophosphate pesticides are used also experience dangerous levels of oral and skin exposure. 

The only way to eliminate continued exposure is to ban all organophosphates as quickly as possible — and we’re going to need your help to make that happen. Urge your representative to support the organophosphate ban. 

Organophosphates are acutely toxic and associated with neurodevelopmental harms in children
(Austin Valley / CC BY 2.0)
Organophosphates are acutely toxic and associated with neurodevelopmental harms in children (Austin Valley / CC BY 2.0)

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