Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

'Finally!': Court Orders EPA to Stop Stalling Potential Ban on Pesticide Tied to Brain Damage in Kids

Food
'Finally!': Court Orders EPA to Stop Stalling Potential Ban on Pesticide Tied to Brain Damage in Kids
American farmers use chlorpyrifos, a pesticide tied to brain and nervous system issues, on crops such as apples, broccoli, corn and strawberries. Stephanie Chapman / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Jessica Corbett

In a ruling welcomed by public health advocates, a federal court on Friday ordered the Trump administration to stop stalling a potential ban on a pesticide linked to brain damage in children, giving regulators until mid-July to make a final decision.


Citing unacceptable health risks for children, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ended household use of chlorpyrifos in 2000. However, farmers can still use the pesticide — which is also tied to nervous system problems in people and animals — on crops such as apples, broccoli, corn and strawberries.

The unanimous ruling Friday from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit is the latest development in a drawn out court battle between the EPA — which blocked a planned agricultural ban on chlorpyrifos in 2017 — and the anti-pesticide, environmental and farmworkers organizations who disagreed with that decision.

Earthjustice attorney Patti Goldman, who represents the groups fighting to ban the pesticide from foods, commended the court for its ruling in a statement Friday.

"While we are moving forward, the tragedy is that children are being exposed to chlorpyrifos, a pesticide science has long shown is unsafe," she said. "We hope Trump's EPA finally decides to protect the future of countless children and the health of millions of farmworkers."

Noting that public health advocates have been working to outlaw the pesticide for more than a decade, Natural Resources Defense Council senior attorney Mae Wu said, "All the science says EPA must ban."

Kristin Schafer, executive director of the Pesticide Action Network, tweeted, "No more delay, [EPA]."

Scandal-ridden former EPA chief Scott Pruitt blocked the ban on chlorpyrifos in March of 2017, shortly after he met with the chief executive of Dow Chemical, which has been selling the pesticide for decades and lobbied against restrictions on it.

The appeals court ruled last August that the EPA had illegally impeded the ban and ordered the agency to finalize its proposal. But then, the EPA requested a rehearing, which the court granted in February.

Shortly before the rehearing last month, Goldman explained the legal issues behind the case in a short video:

Environmental Working Group president Ken Cook, in a statement Friday, criticized EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler — who replaced Pruitt — for failing to ban the pesticide and urged him to fulfill the agency's mission to protect human health and the environment.

"We'll find out in three months if the Trump EPA remains under the tight control of the chemical agriculture industry, or if Administrator Wheeler will finally take his job seriously and ban this brain-damaging pesticide," said Cook. "It's deplorable that Wheeler has defied the court's order for almost nine months, and it's time for him to do his job and protect public health."

Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.

Kentucky received record-breaking rainfall and flooding this past weekend. Keith Getter / Getty Images

Kentucky is coping with historic flooding after a weekend of record-breaking rainfall, enduring water rescues, evacuations and emergency declarations.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The Forest Vixen's CC Photo Stream. Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Spring is coming. And soon, tree swallows will start building nests. But as the climate changes, the birds are nesting earlier in the spring.

Read More Show Less

Trending

An Exxon oil refinery is seen at night. Jim Sugar / Getty Images

Citigroup will strive to reach net-zero greenhouse gas pollution across its lending portfolio by 2050 and in its own operations by 2030, the investment group announced Monday.

Read More Show Less
The Arctic fox's coat changes from the mixed gold and black of summer to a mostly pure white fur in winter. Dennis Fast / VWPics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

By Jacob Job

Maybe you've seen a video clip of a fluffy white fox moving carefully through a frozen landscape. Suddenly it leaps into the air and dive-bombs straight down into the snow. If so, you've witnessed the unusual hunting skills of an Arctic fox.

Read More Show Less
Young protesters participate in the Global Strike For Future march to raise climate change awareness in September 2019 in Brussels, Belgium. Thierry Monasse / Getty Images

By Brett Wilkins

An international survey conducted by the University of Cambridge and YouGov ahead of this November's COP26 United Nations Climate Change Conference, and published on Monday, found overwhelming support around the world for governments taking more robust action to protect the environment amid the worsening climate crisis.

Read More Show Less