Kailua, Hawaii (GREED) – Although numerous studies point to potential health hazards, EPA head Scott Pruitt denied the previous administration’s petition to ban the use of chlorpyrifos, a widely-used pesticide that is especially dangerous to young children. The agrochemical of household use has been discontinued in the U.S. for nearly two decades, and despite an overwhelming amount of evidence suggesting that the substance is dangerous to humans and the environment, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gave a go-ahead last week to its continued use in agricultural applications. The chemical is known to pollute water supplies and has even has been found in umbilical blood samples of newborn babies.
Last week the EPA issued a press release, citing disputed methodology as a reason for the denial of a ban to “revoke all food residue tolerances for chlorpyrifos.” Despite the agency’s own 2016 risk assessment summarizing studies that found “evidence of delays in mental development in infants (24-36 months), attention problems and autism spectrum disorder in early childhood, and intelligence decrements in school age children who were exposed to [organophosphates] during gestation.” Due to the evidence of risk to children (born and unborn), farmworkers, and the water supply, many environmentalists feel that the EPA chose industry over safety.
“We need to provide regulatory certainty to the thousands of American farms that rely on chlorpyrifos, while still protecting human health and the environment. By reversing the previous administration’s steps to ban one of the most widely used pesticides in the world.” Scott Pruit, EPA Administrator
Pruitt was appointed by Trump to head the EPA in February, but in his previous post as Oklahoma Attorney General he sued the EPA on 14 separate occasions, often challenging policies designed to protect natural resources and human health. According to a Bloomberg report, Trump’s inaugural committee received a $1 million contribution from Dow Chemical Co., the manufacturer of the agrochemical. While Dow claims that chlorpyrifos has been used safely for over 45 years, a growing body of evidence disputes that assertion. While this proposed ban would have eliminated a dangerous neurotoxin from our food and water supply, it appears that the agency is choosing corporate profit over people and the environment.