A day after President Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency once again argued for delaying its own ban of chlorpyrifos in court, Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) introduced the Protect Children, Families and Farmworkers from Nerve Agent Pesticides Act, legislation that would ban the dangerous chemical.
Earthjustice, the environmental law organization representing labor leaders, farmworker communities, and environmental activists in litigation against the EPA on its lack of commitment to protecting people from chlorpyrifos, announced its support for Sen. Udall’s bill. Senator Udall introduced the legislation alongside Senators Blumenthal, Booker, Cardin, Feinstein, Gillibrand, Harris, Leahy, Markey, Merkley, Sanders, Van Hollen, and Whitehouse.
Chlorpyrifos is a widely-used agricultural pesticide linked to reduced IQ, attention deficit disorder and other developmental damage in children. Chlorpyrifos, an organophosphate that comes from the same chemical family as sarin nerve gas, is used on foods such as strawberries, apples, citrus, broccoli, and more. Weeks after former EPA boss Scott Pruitt met with the head of the largest manufacturer of chlorpyrifos, Dow Chemical, Pruitt falsely claimed in 2017 the science is “unresolved” and decided EPA would study the issue until 2022.
“This bill comes at a crucial time when scientific integrity and the protection of the public is compromised by industry collusion with the administration,” said Andrea Delgado, legislative director of the Healthy Communities program at Earthjustice. “The most exposed and vulnerable among us are our children, farmworkers and families in rural communities, and they deserve action now. We commend Senator Udall and his colleagues for putting the health of the people over the wealth of the chemical industry.”
Yesterday, in oral arguments before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Earthjustice attorney Patti Goldman argued for faster action on a nationwide ban, contending that EPA continues to sit on administrative objections to its approach to chlorpyrifos. “The Trump administration is fighting tooth and nail for a pesticide EPA’s own scientists found unsafe to children,” Goldman said. “Make no mistake, chlorpyrifos in our food means children are needlessly eating, drinking and breathing this dreadful pesticide.”
More: What You Need to Know about Chlorpyrifos