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Chlorpyrifos Pesticide Challenge

A farm field.

Farmworkers and their families, who are predominantly low-income and majority Latino, bear the brunt of poisonings from pesticides and pesticide drift.

Chris Jordan-Bloch / Earthjustice

What’s at Stake

Widespread agricultural use of chlorpyrifos means that people continue to be exposed through contaminated foods, drinking water, and pesticide blowing off of farmland and into neighboring areas.

Early childhood exposure to chlorpyrifos can cause reduced IQ, developmental delays, loss of working memory, and other neurological damage.

Overview

In 2001, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency banned residential use of chlorpyrifos because of the harm to children exposed in the home. Chlorpyrifos continues to be heavily used on fruit and nut orchards, soybeans, and corn, with an estimated 5 million pounds applied in the U.S. annually. This widespread agricultural use means that people continue to be exposed through contaminated foods, drinking water, and pesticide blowing off of farmland and into neighboring areas.

In 2007, Pesticide Action Network North America and Natural Resources Defense Council, represented by Earthjustice, filed a petition asking EPA to ban all uses of chlorpyrifos to afford the same protection to rural children exposed through pesticide drift. PANNA and NRDC also asked EPA to protect children from reduced IQ, developmental delays, loss of working memory, and other neurological damage cased by early childhood exposures. Young children are particularly vulnerable to the pesticide because their bodies and brains are still developing, and chemicals that interfere with the nervous system during development may cause long-term or permanent damage.

When EPA failed to act, the groups went to court to force EPA to act. Each time, EPA promised to take action, but it continually missed its self-imposed deadlines.

Case Updates

August 7, 2019 | Legal Document

Petition for Review - orders by EPA re: Chlorpyrifos

Petitioners petition the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit for review of: (1) the Petition Denial Order by Respondent EPA entitled “Chlorpyrifos; Order Denying PANNA and NRDC’s Petition to Revoke Tolerances,” and (2) the Objections Denial Order by Respondent EPA, entitled “Chlorpyrifos; Final Order Denying Objections to March 2017 Petition Denial Order.”

August 7, 2019 | Letter

Joint Letter to Gov. Cuomo: Ban the Pesticide Chlorpyrifos to Protect New York’s Children and Farmworkers

Over 80 citizen, agricultural, disability, environmental, health, and labor advocacy groups sent a public letter to Gov. Cuomo urging him to protect the health of children and farmworkers by banning the brain-damaging pesticide chlorpyrifos. Representing hundreds of thousands of members and supporters across New York State, the coalition formed following the Trump Administration’s refusal to ban chlorpyrifos this July.