WASHINGTON, DC – A news story posted on NPR.org reports that a pesticide has been linked to neurological damage in children. Chlorpyrifos has been linked to severe neurological damage, including attention deficit disorders, reduced IQ, and loss of working memory, and attention deficit disorders. Farmers have applied chlorpyrifos on crops, such as apples, broccoli, citrus, and strawberries since 1965.
On Wednesday, officials with the Environmental Protection Agency announced a final ruling concerning chlorpyrifos. The ruling bans using chlorpyrifos on the food. The decision seeks to better protect the farm workers and children, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Administrator Michael Regan’s statement described the ban “an overdue step to protect public health from the potentially dangerous consequences of this pesticide.”
Health and labor groups have been conducting a campaign to abolish the use of chlorpyrifos for many years. The EPA was contemplating a ban over the past several years. However, the agency decided there was not enough proof confirming the harmful effects of the chlorpyrifos on humans to remove the chemicals off of the market.
That decision to ban chlorpyrifos ignited a number of legal challenges in federal appellate court. A federal appellate court ruled the responsibility was on the EPA to provide indisputable evidence that the pesticide is safe for kids. The federal appellate court judge also ruled that food growers would be prohibited from using chlorpyrifos if the EPA did not comply by Aug. 20, 2021.
Farmers have used chlorpyrifos since 1965. The chemical is sprayed on corn, strawberries, citrus, broccoli, and apples. In addition, chlorpyrifos was used as a common household pesticide until 2000.
Patti Goldman, an attorney for Earthjustice, stated that “It took far too long, but children will no longer be eating food tainted with a pesticide that causes intellectual learning disabilities.”
The Natural Resources Defense Council also praised the EPA’s move. The organization also wants to ban other organophosphate pesticides since they are in the same family of chemicals as chlorpyrifos. The EPA’s new rule will start in six months.
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