EPA to ban use of chlorpyrifos after years of legal wrangling
A widely used pesticide that has been linked to neurological damage in children will be banned in the U.S., according to the New York Times.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Wednesday said it would publish a regulation to block the use of chlorpyrifos on food.
The pesticide is commonly applied to apples, broccoli, asparagus, soybeans and other produce.
The new rule will take effect in six months and follows an order in April that directed the EPA to halt the agricultural use of the chemical unless it could demonstrate its safety.
According to the news publication, the rule will be published in its final form, without a draft or public comment period, which is an "unusual move".
“Today EPA is taking an overdue step to protect public health,” the agency’s head, Michael S. Regan was reported as saying.
“Ending the use of chlorpyrifos on food will help to ensure children, farmworkers, and all people are protected from the potentially dangerous consequences of this pesticide.”
The EPA banned the use of chlorpyrifos in 2015 under President Barack Obama after the agency decided it could not be certain whether exposure to the chemical in food and water would be harmful. But President Donald Trump's EPA reversed the decision and said there was not enough evidence to link exposure to chlorpyrifos to children's health issues.
Groups have sought to stop the use of chlorpyrifos after studies showed exposure to the pesticide was linked to lower birth weights, reduced I.Q.s and other developmental problems in children. Studies traced some of those health effects to prenatal exposure to the pesticide.
“The availability of pesticides, like chlorpyrifos, is relied upon by farmers to control a variety of insect pests and by public health officials who work to control deadly and debilitating pests like mosquitoes,” Chris Novak, the chief executive of CropLife America said.
Chlorpyrifos will still be permitted for nonfood uses such as on golf courses, turf, utility poles and fence posts, and in cockroach bait and ant treatments.
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