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Court orders US EPA to decide on chlorpyrifos ban

by Britt E. Erickson
April 28, 2019 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 97, Issue 17


Chemical structure of chlorpyrifos.

The US Environmental Protection Agency must determine by mid-July whether to ban the organophosphate insecticide chlorpyrifos, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on April 19. The chemical has been linked to neurodevelopmental problems in children. The EPA under former president Barack Obama proposed banning all uses of chlorpyrifos. The Trump administration reversed the move, leading to the lawsuit by a coalition of environmental and farmworker groups. The court ruled last year that the EPA must finalize the ban. The EPA appealed that decision, which was made by a three-judge panel, and the court granted the agency a rehearing by the full circuit. “We commend the court for this ruling as it forces the EPA to stop stalling,” Patti Goldman, an attorney for Earthjustice, one of the plaintiffs in the case, says in a statement. “While we are moving forward, the tragedy is that children are being exposed to chlorpyrifos, a pesticide science has long shown is unsafe.” Chlorpyrifos is the only line of defense to target some pests on certain food crops, claim the US Department of Agriculture and farm groups, which are siding with the EPA in the case.


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