Thursday, March 30, 2017

EPA drops proposed ban on Lorsban, agricultural pesticide linked to developmental delays

New Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt on Wednesday refused to ban a pesticide widely used in agriculture that the agency had previously sought to ban, Brady Dennis reports for The Washington Post. Chlorpyrifos, also known as Lorsban, "has been used by farmers for more than a half-century to kill pests on crops including broccoli, strawberries and citrus. EPA banned its spraying indoors to combat household bugs more than a decade ago. But only in recent years did the agency seek to ban its use in agriculture, after mounting scientific evidence that prenatal exposure can pose risks to fetal brain and nervous system development."

Supporters of a ban wrote in a letter to the agency earlier this year, “With each year of delay in canceling food tolerances and agricultural and other uses of chlorpyrifos, more children are unnecessarily at elevated risk for problems in learning, social skills, motor function, and other developmental domains. We strongly urge EPA to finalize its assessment and cancel all remaining uses of chlorpyrifos as expeditiously as possible.”

In 2015, EPA proposed banning the insecticide, Dennis writes. A federal judge had given EPA until Friday to decide whether to go ahead with the ban. In denying it Pruitt said: “We need to provide regulatory certainty to the thousands of American farms that rely on chlorpyrifos, while still protecting human health and the environment. 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.”

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