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Meet the 4 Horsemen of the EPA-pocalypse

By Mary Anne Hitt

Every week, another decision that endangers our families seems to come out of Scott Pruitt's and Donald Trump's U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The latest facepalm/outrage comes in the form of confirmation hearings that start this week for four completely unacceptable nominees to critical leadership positions at EPA.

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EPA Chemical Safety Nominee Is a Hired Gun for Tobacco and Chemical Industries

By Jack Pratt

For decades, a weak law left Americans at risk from toxic chemicals in everyday products such as cleaners and fabrics. As a result, chemicals tied to infertility, learning disabilities and even cancer found their way into all our homes, schools and workplaces.

A turn-around looked likely in 2016 when Congress passed a strong, bipartisan law to overhaul the Toxic Substances Control Act to better protect our health. The agency charged with carrying out the new law hit the ground running and was making good progress.

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Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Pruitt's EPA Cedes Pesticide Oversight to Agriculture Department

Internal U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) documents show that Administrator Scott Pruitt has effectively relinquished the EPA's oversight of pesticide safety to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), said Scott Faber, the Environmental Working Group's (EWG) senior vice president of government affairs.

More than 700 pages of emails and other records show that Pruitt and other EPA officials consulted closely with agribusiness interests and top officials at the USDA on the decision not to ban chlorpyrifos, a neurotoxic pesticide that has been shown to harm children's brains at even very low levels, according to The New York Times.

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Rep. Nydia Velazquez / Twitter

Senators Unveil Bill to Ban Chlorpyrifos

Senators Tom Udall (D-NM), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Kamala Harris (D-CA) , Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Edward J. Markey (D-MA) unveiled Tuesday a first-of-its-kind bill that would ban chlorpyrifos, a widely used agricultural pesticide that has been linked to reduced IQ and attention deficit disorder in children. Chlorpyrifos, an organophosphate which comes from the same chemical family as sarin nerve gas, is used on staple foods like strawberries, apples, citrus, broccoli and more.

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TP Martins / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

States Sue EPA for Failing to Ban Toxic Pesticide

By Farron Cousins

In late March, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt decided that his agency would not place an outright ban on a pesticide manufactured by Dow Chemical called chlorpyrifos.

The decision came after a federal court ordered the EPA to make a final decision on whether or not to ban the pesticide, which the Obama administration had proposed banning in 2015. The chemical has been on the market in the U.S. since 1965 under the brand name Lorsban and indoor use of the chemical has been banned for more than a decade.

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Dow CEO Andrew Liveris and President Donald Trump in February.

EPA Chief Met With Dow Chemical CEO Before Deciding Not to Ban Toxic Pesticide

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Scott Pruitt met with Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris before deciding to reverse an earlier EPA decision to ban the company's toxic and widely used pesticide, chlorpyrifos.

According to records obtained by the Associated Press, the EPA boss met with Liveris for about 30 minutes at a Houston hotel on March 9. Later that month, Pruitt announced that he would no longer pursue a ban on chlorpyrifos from being used on food, ignoring his agency's own review that even small amounts of the pesticide could impact fetus and infant brain development.

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​7 States Challenge Trump EPA Over Toxic Pesticide

By Miriam Rotkin-Ellman

The fight to ban chlorpyrifos has been heating up this week. Natural Resources Defense Council, together with a coalition of advocacy groups—and now seven state attorneys general—are ramping up the pressure on Trump's U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ban a pesticide linked to learning disabilities in children. It is widely used on food crops in the U.S., including kid favorites like apples, oranges and strawberries.

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In March, EPA chief Scott Pruitt scrapped his own agency's proposal to ban chlorpyrifos.

12 Farmworkers Poisoned by Toxic Pesticide Only One Month After EPA Denies Ban

More than 50 agricultural workers southwest of Bakersfield, California in Kern County were inadvertently exposed to pesticide drift from a nearby field earlier this month. According to local reports, 12 farmworkers reported symptoms of vomiting, nausea and one person fainted due to exposure to Vulcan, an organophosphate-based chemical.

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Why Won't the EPA Ban This Extremely Toxic Pesticide?

By Nicole Greenfield

The pesticide industry and Dow Chemical have a new reason to cheer. The rest of us appear to be stuck with chlorpyrifos on our food, at least for the time being.

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