Story at a glance

  • The pesticide has been widely used in agriculture.
  • The move follows a decade-and-a-half push to halt the use of the pesticide on food.
  • Chlorpyrifos have been linked to health issues in children.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is banning the use of a pesticide that has been linked to neurological damage in children. 

The agency on Wednesday announced it will prohibit the use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos, which has been widely used since 1965 on soybeans, fruit and nut trees, broccoli and other produce. 

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"Today EPA is taking an overdue step to protect public health. 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," EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said in a statement. 

The move follows a decade-and-a-half push to halt the use of the pesticide on food. 

In 2007, a petition was filed by the Pesticide Action Network North America and Natural Resources Defense Council calling on the agency to revoke its use due to the potential neurodevelopmental effects in children. 

The Obama administration kicked off the process to stop the use of the pesticide, but the Trump administration in 2017 changed course and refused to take the chemical off the market despite health concerns, prompting a wave of lawsuits. 

In April, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals directed the agency to take action to stop agricultural use of chlorpyrifos or prove it can be used safely. 

"After the delays and denials of the prior administration, EPA will follow the science and put health and safety first," Regan said. 

According to the National Pesticide Information Center, children 3 and under who had chlorpyrifos in their blood experienced more developmental delays and disorders than those who did not have chlorpyrifos in their blood. They also experienced attention deficit disorders and hyperactivity disorders at higher rates.

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Published on Aug 18, 2021