The Trump EPA has just alarmingly greenlighted the use of a pesticide that’s been proven to cause lasting harm to children.
According to a new report in the Los Angeles Times, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt — who sued the EPA on behalf of oil companies on more than a dozen occasions as Oklahoma’s Attorney General — has officially repealed an Obama-era regulation initially put in place in 2015, when the pesticide chlorpyrifos was found to be a leading cause of nerve damage in children.
After the repeal of the order, farmers will now be free to spray chlorpyrifos on commonly eaten fruits, like apples, oranges, and other citrus fruits. The pesticide is also typically used on corn, wheat, soybeans, and tree nuts. Mother Jones pointed out that in the Pesticide Encyclopedia, chlorpyrifos is described as “interrupting the electrochemical processes that nerves use to communicate with muscles and other nerves.” The National Institutes of Health also said the chemical can cause “adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects,” given its status as an endocrine disruptor.
Mother Jones also quoted numerous studies on the effects of chlorpyrifos conducted by scientists from prestigious institutions like Colombia University, Emory University, and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine which said that even low doses of the pesticide have been proven to cause problems with brain development in children, and have even led to higher rates of autism and lower IQ levels. The chemical’s harm has been known for years, as chlorpyrifos was banned for use in the home by the EPA 17 years ago, as the agency deemed it unsafe for children.
However, Pruitt’s EPA defended the decision to repeal the regulation based on “serious scientific concerns and substantive process gaps” in the original proposal to end the use of the pesticide. In a press release, Pruitt celebrated the reintroduction of chlorpyrifos to our food supply as “sound science in decision-making.”
“We need to provide regulatory certainty to the thousands of American farms that rely on chlorpyrifos, while still protecting human health and the environment,” Pruitt said in a public statement. “By reversing the previous Administration’s steps to ban one of the most widely used pesticides in the world, we are returning to using sound science in decision-making – rather than predetermined results.”
Tom Cahill is a senior editor for the Resistance Report based in the Pacific Northwest. He specializes in coverage of political, economic, and environmental news. You can contact him via email at [email protected], or follow him on Facebook by clicking here.