The Environmental Protection Agency has announced it is banning the use of chlorpyrifos, a widely used pesticide long targeted by environmentalists, on food crops because it poses risks to children and farm workers.
The Environmental Protection Agency acted after a federal appeals court ordered the government in April to determine quickly whether the pesticide is safe or should be prohibited.
Chlorpyrifos is applied on numerous crops, including soybeans, fruit and nut trees, broccoli and cauliflower. Studies have linked it to potential brain damage in children and fetuses that could lead to reduced IQ, memory loss and attention deficit disorders.
The European Union, Canada and some states including California, Hawaii, New York, Maryland, and Oregon have restricted application of chlorpyrifos on foods. Those limits - and development of replacement pest controls - have led to a decline in farmers’ use of chlorpyrifos, the EPA said.
“This effects our kids with learning disability and memory loss and that is for adults too,” Claudia Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez is with the Florida Farmers Association. She says though the product has been banned from food crops, it has not been banned from other products.
“They don’t take it out this chemical to the ornamental plants. Some ant killer has this pesticide inside,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez says consumers should pay close attention to the chemicals and active ingredients in products you buy.
Corteva Inc. had been the world’s largest manufacturer of the pesticide but stopped producing it last year. The company, created after a merger of Dow Chemical and Dupont, said previously that declining sales drove its decision and that it considered chlorpyrifos safe.
Corteva reacted to the ban. In a statement a company spokesperson said in part:
“The company stands by the safety of the product and its value for the grower community. This action effectively removes an important tool for farmers and, while Corteva continues to review the order, it appears that the rationale used by the Agency is inconsistent with the complete and robust database of more than 4,000 studies and reports that have examined the product in terms of health, safety and the environment.”
The ban is set to take effect in six months.