New York Bans Brain-damaging Pesticide Chlorpyrifos


The new state regulation safeguards children, farmworkers, and communities, additionally protects pollinators and our environment


Nydia Gutiérrez, Earthjustice

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced the release of final regulations prohibiting the sale, distribution, possession, and use of pesticide products containing the active ingredient chlorpyrifos. This action by Governor Cuomo’s administration will protect children, farmers and farmworkers, and wildlife from a dangerous pesticide.

The following is a statement from Peter Lehner, managing attorney for the Sustainable Food and Farming Program at Earthjustice:

“At a time when industry is pushing the Environmental Protection Agency to keep the toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos on the market, we applaud Governor Cuomo, the New York Senate and Assembly leadership, and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for taking this crucial step. Banning chlorpyrifos in New York will protect children, communities, and farmworkers. Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate pesticide that attacks the nervous system and has been proven to damage children’s developing brains. New York played a leading role two decades ago in ending the residential use of chlorpyrifos. We hope New York’s leadership now will encourage action by the federal Environmental Protection Agency to end all food uses of chlorpyrifos so we know that the food we bring in from other states will be as safe as the food we produce here.”

New York joins California and Hawaiʻi in taking state action to ban the organophosphate pesticide that is proven to cause diminished cognitive ability, delays in motor development, and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in infants and young children. Organophosphates are toxic chemicals that attack the nervous system, originally developed for use as nerve agents during WWII. After the war, the chemical companies adapted the organophosphates to be used as pesticides, primarily as insecticides.

Federal action is needed to ensure our country is protected from the harms of chlorpyrifos. In a series of lawsuits, Earthjustice, alongside other groups, has pushed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to federally ban chlorpyrifos.

This April, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals handed down its ruling in our legal challenge. The court wrote that ”the EPA’s time is now up,” ordering the agency to ban all food uses of chlorpyrifos or retain only those uses it can find safe for workers and children.

The much-awaited deadline for the EPA’s response on federally banning chlorpyrifos is Aug. 20, 2021.

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