Child Safety Concerns Drive Potential Pesticide Ban

by Vins
Published: Updated:

A federal appeals court ruled in April 2021 that the pesticide chlorpyrifos will be banned from all forms of use unless the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can prove it’s safe. The popular chemical has been used on crops for more than 50 years and has been linked to neurological development issues in children. As Reynard Loki explained in a May 2021 article for Citizen Truth, chlorpyrifos has been linked to disorders including autism, ADHD, decreased motor skills, and loss of IQ.

On April 29, 2021, the U.S Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit gave the federal government 60 days to either pull the chemical from all forms of use or prove it was safe for public health.

In the 2007 case of League of United Latin American Citizens v. Regan, Judge Jed S. Rakoff stated, “The EPA has spent more than a decade assembling a record of chlorpyrifos’s ill effects and has repeatedly determined, based on that record, that it cannot conclude, to the statutorily required standard of reasonable certainty, that the present tolerances are causing no harm,” and that “EPA’s egregious delay exposed a generation of American children to unsafe levels of chlorpyrifos.”

Rakoff continued to say that “Rather than ban a pesticide or reduce the tolerances to levels that the EPA can find are reasonably certain to cause no harm, the EPA has sought to evade its plain statutory duties.” Loki says in his article that “pregnant women and their fetuses, young children and farmworkers are particularly at risk from chlorpyrifos.” The chemical was first registered in 1965.

The chair of New York State American Academy of Pediatrics, Dr. Warren Seigel, said that “there are numerous studies showing that exposure to chlorpyrifos in the womb harms children’s brain development.” This pesticide, Warren concluded, “should have been banned years ago.”

The EPA is reviewing the ruling and says it is “committed to helping support and protect farmworkers and their families while ensuring pesticides are used safely among the nation’s agriculture.” The Trump administration rejected a proposed ban on chlorpyrifos almost two years ago. Loki says the Trump administration rejected the ban to help Dow Chemical, the maker of the chemical. But that all changed when Biden was elected as president.

Loki reported that one of Biden’s first actions has president was to sign an executive order directing the EPA to review the Trump administration’s decision to deny the 2007 petition to ban food-related chlorpyrifos.

Despite the severity of this chemical to the public, this story was not popular within the main-stream media. Articles like this one from The Intercept covered similar topics to Loki’s and the New York Times wrote an article about the banning of chlorpyrifos. This topic was barely covered by the corporate media during the court decision and was covered only slightly after its ruling. The parents and children being affected had a better chance of finding out through Citizen Truth than through the corporate media.

Source: Reynard Loki, “A Pesticide Linked to Brain Damage in Children Could Finally Be Banned,” Citizen Truth, May 11, 2021.

Student Researcher: Casey Tippett (Salisbury University)

Faculty Evaluator: Jennifer Cox (Salisbury University)

[Editor’s Note: In August 2021, the EPA announced that it would stop the use of chlorpyrifos on all food products nationwide.]