Gillibrand introduces bill to ban harmful pesticide from school lunch

Gillibrand introduces bill to ban harmful pesticide from school lunch
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Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandSteve King to Gillibrand: Odds of me resigning same as yours of winning presidential nomination The Hill's Morning Report — Recession fears climb and markets dive — now what? King incites furor with abortion, rape and incest remarks MORE (N.Y.), one of the Democrats vying for the 2020 presidential nomination, introduced a bill Wednesday that would restrict schools from serving meals that include fruits and vegetables sprayed with chlorpyrifos.

Chlorpyrifos is a pesticide that is widely used on crops such as apples, oranges, strawberries, corn and wheat, though studies have linked it to developmental disabilities in children.

The Safe School Meals for Kids Act would restrict schools from purchasing or serving any food that contains any amount of detectable chlorpyrifos.

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“As a mother of two young sons, it’s alarming that the food in school meals could contain even a trace of a chemical that could harm students’ development and ability to learn,” Gillibrand, who sits on the Senate Agriculture Committee, said in a statement.

“The food that students eat should be safe and nutritious, and I urge my colleagues to pass this bill to help protect children from this toxic pesticide.”

The chemical’s use on foods has had a long, embattled history in the U.S. Studies have shown that the herbicide is linked to alterations in brain structure and cognition, and that children are especially susceptible.

In 2001, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned the use of the chemical residentially, but it has resisted outright banning it.

Last year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ordered the EPA to remove chlorpyrifos from use within 60 days of an August ruling, ending what would have been a decadelong fight by health advocates to ban the substance.

However, the Trump administration promptly appealed that ruling, and the court agreed to hear the appeal. A decision has not yet been announced by the 22-judge court rehearing the case.

Also last year, Hawaii became the first state to outright ban chlorpyrifos.