A federal court will determine if the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should be ordered to ban a pesticide linked to brain damage in children. Seven states and a coalition of environmental and labour groups made final arguments before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals this Monday. They are challenging the EPA’s refusal to ban chlorpyrifos, an organophosphate related to sarin nerve gas.
According to Hector Sanchez, executive director of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, a ban on the agricultural use of the chemical is long overdue. “These pesticides are very toxic for farm workers. They have been proven to lower the IQ of children, they have loss of working memory and attention deficit disorders; something that is totally unacceptable.”
Against the recommendation of its own scientists, last year the EPA claimed the science on chlorpyrifos is “unresolved” and allowed its use to continue until it revisits the issue in 2022.
Chlorpyrifos is used extensively on apples, a major crop in New York, and a variety of other fruits and vegetables. It was banned for residential use almost 20 years ago. Sanchez says the EPA’s refusal to ban agricultural use puts everyone at risk.
According to publicnewsservice.org, the state of Hawaii banned the agricultural use of chlorpyrifos last month.