EPA denies objections on chlorpyrifos
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has denied objections to its proposed ban of the use of the chlorpyrifos pesticide on food in a move which it says will protect the health of farmworkers and children.
In a statement, the EPA said that in August 2021,the agency issued a final rule revoking all tolerances — which establish an amount of a pesticide that is allowed on food — for chlorpyrifos. However the measure was contended by different agriculture organizations arguing that it was too drastic and a level of tolerance should be allowed.
Chlorpyrifos had been used for a large variety of agricultural uses, including soybeans, fruit and nut trees, broccoli, cauliflower, and other row crops.
The statement said that the chemical has been found to inhibit an enzyme, which leads to neurotoxicity, and has also been associated with potential neurodevelopmental effects in children.
In issuing the final rule, EPA found it could not determine that there is a reasonable certainty of no harm from aggregate exposure to chlorpyrifos — including food, drinking water, and residential exposure — based on available data and considering its registered uses.
The EPA’s evaluation indicated that registered uses of chlorpyrifos result in exposures exceeding the safe levels of exposure, and thus have the potential to result in adverse effects.
A consortium of organizations had filed an injunction against the ban and asked for a level of tolerance, this list opposing the rule included the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, Cherry Marketing Institute, Idaho-Oregon Fruit and Vegetable Association, Michigan State Horticultural Society, Michigan Vegetable Council, National Asparagus Council, National Onion Association, National Potato Council, U.S. Apple Association, and Washington Potato & Onion Association.
Regulations and restrictions on chlorpyrifos have been a hotly debated topic since its first regulation in the 1960’s. The most recent push to fully ban the substance started to ramp up in 2021.