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Environment

EPA Rule Would Ban Chlorpyrifos On Food

by Britt E. Erickson
November 9, 2015 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 93, ISSUE 44

All agricultural uses of chlorpyrifos, a common organophosphate insecticide, would cease under a rule EPA proposed on Oct. 30. The agency says that it cannot ensure that combined exposure to chlorpyrifos from food and drinking water is safe. Earlier this year, EPA determined that chlorpyrifos poses a potential risk to people who drink water from small watersheds contaminated with the pesticide. “There do not appear to be risks from exposure to chlorpyrifos in food, but when those exposures are combined with estimated exposure from drinking water in certain watersheds, EPA cannot conclude that the risk from aggregate exposure meets the Federal Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act safety standard,” the agency says. EPA’s actions were spurred by a court order that required the agency to respond by the end of October to a 2007 petition from environmental groups. The petition urges EPA to ban chlorpyrifos, claiming that it is linked to nervous system damage. Pesticide manufacturer Dow AgroSciences disagrees with EPA’s proposal but says all food tolerance issues “can be readily resolved with a more refined analysis.”

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