EPA Fumbles New Restrictions on Pesticide Linked to Brain Damage

Children, the most at-risk population, will continue to be exposed to unsafe levels of chlorpyrifos


Erin Fitzgerald, Earthjustice

Today the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed new restrictions on chlorpyrifos, a widely used neurotoxic pesticide, as it released its revised human health risk assessment.

Chlorpyrifos, which belongs to a class of pesticides called organophosphates, is acutely toxic and associated with neurodevelopmental harms in children. Prenatal exposures to chlorpyrifos are linked to lower birth weight, reduced IQ, loss of working memory, attention disorders, and delayed motor development. It is also unsafe for workers even with the most protective equipment.

The following statement comes from Earthjustice Managing Attorney Patti Goldman, who leads the legal fight to ban chlorpyrifos:

“EPA is refusing to protect children from damage to their brains and learning disabilities.  Even with the new protections, the agency is still failing children, who will continue to be exposed to chlorpyrifos at levels that cause lifelong damage.”

EPA is proposing label amendments to address drinking water contamination and requiring additional personal protective equipment for workers. It is also calling for spray drift mitigation rules. However, only banning the pesticide can truly protect children and workers from a pesticide that is widely recognized as unsafe.

Last September, EPA said it rejected extensive scientific evidence that even low levels of the pesticide chlorpyrifos damage children’s brains.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is set to rule on a chlorpyrifos ban in the next weeks or months.

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