NEW YORK – Today a federal appeals court refused to order the Environmental Protection Agency to ban a pesticide linked to brain damage in children.
In late 2016 the EPA said in a report that exposure to chlorpyrifos, a pesticide chemically related to Sarin nerve gas, puts children, farm workers and the environment at risk.
The substance was banned from residential use 17 years ago, but in March 2017 the agency refused to issue a ban on its use in agriculture.
According to the national vice president of the United Farm Workers, Erik Nicholson, the EPA itself has already determined that the science behind the ban is clear. In a Public News Service article, he says:
“The only question with the previous administration was how quickly we were going to remove this chemical from our food supply,” he states. “Under the current administration, they’re arguing the science is ambiguous, that more study needs to happen.”
The EPA, under new leadership under President Trump, now says it needs another five years to study the issue, and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals declined to intervene on the issue.
But Nicholson points out that despite the known dangers, the pesticide is still in use.
“All the while, the women and men who harvest our food continue to have dangerous exposures in our opinion, as well as consumers when we consume food that may have residues,” he points out.
Chlorpyrifos exposure in developing children has been linked to reduced IQ, loss of working memory capacity and attention deficit disorders.
Nicholson calls any further delay unethical, arguing that farm workers have not consented to be test subjects for the EPA to study the effects of a chemical known to be dangerous.
“Nor have we as consumers consented to being used as guinea pigs to continue to consume food products that that may have residues and for the government to look at what impact this might be having on us,” he stresses.
Nicholson says he will look for other ways to remove chlorpyrifos from use and continue to challenge the delay in the courts.Like this story? Sign up for our daily newsletter to get more of our best original news.