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.

Air France airplanes parked at the Charles de Gaulle/Roissy airport on March 24, 2020. SAMSON / AFP via Getty Images

France moved one step closer this weekend to banning short-haul flights in an attempt to fight the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
A woman looks at a dead gray whale on the beach in the SF Bay area on May 23, 2019; a new spate of gray whales have been turning up dead near San Francisco. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Four gray whales have washed up dead near San Francisco within nine days, and at least one cause of death has been attributed to a ship strike.

Read More Show Less
Trending
A small tourist town has borne the brunt of a cyclone which swept across the West Australian coast. ABC News (Australia) / YouTube

Tropical Cyclone Seroja slammed into the Western Australian town of Kalbarri Sunday as a Category 3 storm before grinding a more-than 600-mile path across the country's Southwest.

Read More Show Less
A general view shows the remains of a dam along a river in Tapovan, India, on February 10, 2021, following a flash flood caused by a glacier break on February 7. Sajjad Hussain / AFP / Getty Images

By Rishika Pardikar

Search operations are still underway to find those declared missing following the Uttarakhand disaster on 7 February 2021.

Read More Show Less
Indigenous youth, organizers with the Dakota Access and Line 3 pipeline fights and climate activists march to the White House to protest against pipeline projects on April 1, 2021. Bill Clark / CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

Indigenous leaders and climate campaigners on Friday blasted President Joe Biden's refusal to shut down the Dakota Access Pipeline during a court-ordered environmental review, which critics framed as a betrayal of his campaign promises to improve tribal relations and transition the country to clean energy.

Read More Show Less