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Daily News Blog

30
Aug

Tell EPA to Ban ALL Uses of Chlorpyrifos

(Beyond Pesticides, August 30, 2021) As with other actions on pesticides, EPA’s chlorpyrifos decision is filled with exceptions that respond to vested interests seeking to ignore or deflect the science. EPA, since announcing its decision in 1999 to ban “residential” uses of chlorpyrifos, continues to allow the following uses: (i) Residential use of containerized baits; (ii) Indoor areas where children will not be exposed, including only ship holds, railroad boxcars, industrial plants, manufacturing plants, or food processing plants; (iii) Outdoor areas where children will not be exposed, including only: golf courses, road medians, Industrial plant sites; (iv) Non-structural wood treatments including: fenceposts, utility poles, railroad ties, landscape timers, logs, pallets, wooden containers, poles, posts, and processed wood products; (v) Public health uses: Fire ant mounds (drench and granular treatment); (vi) nurseries and greenhouses; and (vii) Mosquito control. These uses are unaffected by EPA’s announcement.

We need to finish the chlorpyrifos job. Tell EPA to ban all uses of chlorpyrifos.

The collective effort to remove this one chemical is a tremendous feat in eliminating one exposure to a hazardous material for children. Achieving the ban on food uses required an enormously resource-intensive effort at a time in history when we are running against the clock in an urgent race to transition our society and global community away from the use of petroleum-based, toxic pesticides—to move to meaningful practices that sustain, nurture, and regenerate life.

EPA was forced into its decision by a court order that was precipitated by an agency decision to reverse course after proposing to stop food uses of chlorpyrifos in 2017. Despite a mountain of scientific data challenging chlorpyrifos’s safety, it was embraced by industrial agriculture, the golf industry, and others, and deemed too valuable to the bottom line of its manufacturer, Corteva (formerly Dow AgroSciences). Pesticide manufacturers are also motivated to steer EPA away from adverse health and environmental effects findings on their products in order to avoid potential litigation by those harmed. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in San Francisco in its ruling in May, 2021, in which it mandated EPA action, said, “The EPA has had nearly 14 years to publish a legally sufficient response to the 2007 Petition [filed by environmental and farmworker groups].” The court continued, “During that time, the EPA’s egregious delay exposed a generation of American children to unsafe levels of chlorpyrifos.”

But before all the recent activity, in 1999, EPA had negotiated a compromise with Dow that stopped most residential uses of chlorpyrifos. Why? For the same reason that EPA finally acted on food. This neurotoxic chemical is harmful to children. That was 22 years ago and followed a campaign by Beyond Pesticides and others to remove Dursban/chlorpyrifos from the market because of indoor ambient air contamination of homes and buildings and lawn and landscape exposure. It should be noted that Dursban had been viewed with promise by regulators as the alternative to the organochlorine insecticide chlordane, which Beyond Pesticides sued to remove from the termite use market—a remaining use after the agricultural, lawn, and garden uses were finally taken off the market in 1983, with decades of review by numerous agencies. Its cancer-causing properties and ecological effects could no longer be defended. The cancellation of termite use followed in 1988 after millions of homes were potentially contaminated, with high risk factors for cancer.

It all comes down to this: Do we want a society that is science-based, public health-oriented, occupational safety focused, children-concerned, ecologically protective or one that allows the use of toxic pesticides that are unnecessary to achieve land management, quality of life, and food productivity goals? Should victims of poisoning have to plead with regulators to protect them? Should organizations have to fight chemical-by-chemical to achieve basic levels of protection from individual neurotoxic, cancer causing, endocrine disrupting pesticides? Of course not. This is exactly what has happened with the insecticide chlorpyrifos and continues to occur with other pesticides. There’s no question, we need an EPA that doesn’t play politics with health and the environment.

With all this as context for the chemical treadmill, next up after chlorpyrifos may be the insecticide bifenthrin, a synthetic pyrethroid. It too is a neurotoxic, cancer-causing, endocrine disrupting pesticide. And if that is not enough, there are others waiting in the wings. 

But first we need to finish the chlorpyrifos job. Tell EPA to ban all uses of chlorpyrifos.

U.S. EPA Administrator Michael Regan

I am writing to ask EPA to finish the chlorpyrifos job. Ban all uses of chlorpyrifos.

Does a science-based, public health-oriented, occupational safety focused, children-concerned, ecologically protective society allow the use of toxic pesticides that are unnecessary to achieve land management, quality of life, and food productivity goals? Should victims of poisoning have to plead with regulators to protect them? Should organizations have to fight chemical-by-chemical to achieve basic levels of protection from individual neurotoxic, cancer causing, endocrine disrupting pesticides? Of course not. Yet, this is exactly what has happened with the insecticide chlorpyrifos and continues to occur with other pesticides. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) announcement that the food uses of the chlorpyrifos will be banned after being registered 65 years ago should be cause to end its remaining uses.

As with other actions on pesticides, EPA’s chlorpyrifos decision is filled with exceptions that respond to vested interests seeking to ignore or deflect the science. EPA, since announcing its decision in 1999 to ban “residential” uses of chlorpyrifos, continues to allow the following uses: (i) Residential use of containerized baits; (ii) Indoor areas where children will not be exposed, including only ship holds, railroad boxcars, industrial plants, manufacturing plants, or food processing plants; (iii) Outdoor areas where children will not be exposed, including only: golf courses, road medians, Industrial plant sites; (iv) Non-structural wood treatments including: fenceposts, utility poles, railroad ties, landscape timers, logs, pallets, wooden containers, poles, posts, and processed wood products; (v) Public health uses: Fire ant mounds (drench and granular treatment); (vi) nurseries and greenhouses; and (vii) Mosquito control. These uses are unaffected by EPA’s announcement.

EPA was forced into its decision by a court order that was precipitated by an agency decision to reverse course after proposing to stop food uses of chlorpyrifos in 2017. Despite a mountain of scientific data challenging chlorpyrifos’s safety, it was embraced by industrial agriculture, the golf industry, and others, and deemed too valuable to the bottom line of its manufacturer, Corteva (formerly Dow AgroSciences). The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in San Francisco in its ruling in May, 2021, in which it mandated EPA action, said, “The EPA has had nearly 14 years to publish a legally sufficient response to the 2007 Petition [filed by environmental and farmworker groups].” The court continued, “During that time, the EPA’s egregious delay exposed a generation of American children to unsafe levels of chlorpyrifos.”

But before all the recent activity, in 1999, EPA had negotiated a compromise with Dow that stopped most residential uses of chlorpyrifos. Why? For the same reason that EPA finally acted on food. This neurotoxic chemical is harmful to children. That was 22 years ago, and followed a campaign by Beyond Pesticides and others to remove Dursban/chlorpyrifos from the market because of indoor ambient air contamination of homes and buildings and lawn and landscape exposure. It should be noted that Dursban had been viewed with promise by regulators as the alternative to the organochlorine insecticide chlordane, which Beyond Pesticides sued to remove from the termite use market—a remaining use after the agricultural, lawn, and garden uses were finally taken off the market in 1983, with decades of review by numerous agencies. Its cancer-causing properties and ecological effects could no longer be defended. The cancellation of termite use followed in 1988 after millions of homes were potentially contaminated, with high risk factors for cancer.

It is time to ban all uses of chlorpyrifos.

Thank you.

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  • Archives

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