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Rick Worthington Discontinue Chlorpyrifos Applications
by Rick Worthington, click here for bio

Program: Farm and Ranch Report
Date: August 16, 2018

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Discontinue Chlorpyrifos Applications

Farmers and other users of the pesticide chlorpyrifos can continue applying the chemical to crops for the next two months, when the Environmental Protection Agency has been ordered to ban its use.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that use of the pesticide must end.

Willa Childress with the Pesticide Action Network says studies show children exposed to chlorpyrifos suffer from a number of problems that can last into adulthood.

“The 9th Court of Appeals is really upholding the law to protect kids from a pesticide that harms their developing brains,” Childress said. “The EPA determined that infants were being exposed to chlorpyrifos at levels 140 times that that could be considered safe.”

Growers say the pesticide has been an important tool to effectively manage or eliminate pests from a variety of crops.

An EPA spokesperson said the agency is reviewing the court's decision.

Marissa Ordonia is an attorney with Earthjustice. She says the pesticide should have been banned a decade ago.

“For our part, we're going to make sure that they are going to get this off of our food as soon as possible,” Ordonia said. “It's acutely toxic, it can cause respiratory distress, dizziness, there are poisoning incidences amongst farm workers and people in farm communities when the pesticide becomes airborne and drifts."

A lawsuit over the pesticide has lingered since 2007, even though the EPA's own internal studies confirmed serious safety risks associated with its use. A ban was proposed under the Obama administration, but former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt did not enact it.

The pesticide was banned for residential use by the EPA roughly 17 years ago.

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