WASHINGTON-The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will allow farmers to resume broad use of a pesticide over objections from beekeepers, citing private chemical-industry studies that the product does only lower-level harm to bees and wildlife. Last summer, a federal court ordered the EPA to review the petition, and after a review of that decision, the agency was given 90 days in April to make a determination, finally culminating in Thursday's decision. EPA denied objections to the agency's 2017 order denying a 2007 petition from the Pesticide Action Network North America, and the Natural Resources Defense Council to cancel all registrations for the insecticide.
"By allowing chlorpyrifos to stay in our fruits and vegetables, Trump's EPA is breaking the law and neglecting the overwhelming scientific evidence that this pesticide harms children's brains", Goldman said in a statement.More news: Expedition 60 crew launches to space station on Apollo 11 anniversary
In a statement, the EPA said it was separately speeding up a regular agency review of the pesticide's continued use, and expected a decision on that well ahead of a 2022 deadline. "It damages the developing brains of children and causes serious health problems in those who have been exposed to it". But after the 2016 election Dow Chemical, which manufactures chlorpyrifos, set forth on an aggressive campaign to pressure the incoming Trump administration to block that decision.
The EPA's decision, which represented a win for industry, drew swift condemnation from groups that have pushed for years to remove the pesticide from the market.
"The Trump EPA's reckless approval...without any public process is a awful blow to imperiled pollinators", said Lori Ann Burd, director of the Center for Biological Diversity's environmental health program.More news: Death Toll Rises to 12 from Central China Gas Factory Blast
E-mails and other records obtained from the EPA through Freedom of Information Act litigation by the Sierra Club, and provided to The Associated Press, show sorghum growers, in particular, had pressed senior officials at the agency for a return to broad use of sulfoxaflor. " EPA concluded that, despite several years of study, the science addressing neurodevelopmental effects remains unresolved and that further evaluation of the science during the remaining time for completion of registration review was warranted regarding whether the potential exists for adverse neurodevelopmental effects to occur from current human exposures to chlorpyrifos". Meanwhile, some states are taking matters into their own hands by banning the insecticide locally. Last year, Hawaii became the first state to prohibit its use, and NY and California have followed suit. NY lawmakers recently approved legislation to ban the pesticide by December 1, 2021.
Chlorpyrifos has been used for a half century on a wide array of crops and in virtually every corner of the country.
Despite strong evidence linking the chemical to neurological damage in children, the agency claims it's a vital tool for farmers.More news: Australian woman charged after allegedly decapitating mother in 'horrific' crime
Farmworker Justice, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping migrant and seasonal workers improve their health and occupational safety, says farmworkers face greater risks of becoming poisoned or affected by pesticides because they work where the chemicals are at their greatest concentrations and strengths.