EPA orders final cancellation of nerve-agent pesticide found in grain

Chlorpyrifos-methyl is being phased out, but dozens of similar harmful organophosphate pesticides remain in food


Erin Fitzgerald, efitzgerald@earthjustice.org

Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the cancellation of chlorpyrifos-methyl, a dangerous organophosphate (OP) pesticide that harms workers and is unsafe in children’s cereal. In 2016, EPA proposed to end some uses of the pesticide that harm workers and use of the pesticide in storage bins of wheat to get it out of children’s cereal, but EPA took no further action to finalize that proposal for years.

Bayer Environmental Science — the chemical manufacturer — asked EPA to cancel the registration for the pesticide after witnessing years of advocacy, and court fights against organophosphates that stem from mounting evidence of harm.

EPA’s order becomes effective today, but existing stocks can still be sold for another year and used until supplies run out. Organophosphate pesticides poison people and cause learning disabilities and neurodevelopmental harm to children at extremely low exposures.

The following statement is from Patti Goldman, Earthjustice attorney:

“At long last, this harmful pesticide will be phased out, but EPA is still authorizing the use of more than a dozen other pesticides in this class. EPA needs to act quickly to ban all the OPs to protect farmworkers, their families, our food, and drinking water.”

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