Friday, August 10, 2018

Federal appeals court tells EPA to ban pesticide chlorpyrifos

A three-judge panel of the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 Thursday that the Environmental Protection Agency endangered public welfare by ignoring extensive evidence that a widely used pesticide is harmful to children, and ordered the agency to ban the sale of chlorpyrifos within 60 days.

"In March 2017, just a month after he was confirmed as the agency’s administrator, Scott Pruitt rejected a petition by the health and environmental groups to ban the pesticide," Eric Lipton reports for The New York Times. "He did so even though the agency’s own staff scientists had recommended that chlorpyrifos be removed from the market, based on health studies that had suggested it was harming children, particularly among farmworker families."

Chlorpyrifos is used in more than 50 crops, and its leading manufacturer DowDuPont, along with others, lobbied the EPA extensively to keep it legal. EPA spokesperson Michael Abboud said the agency will review the court's decision, mentioning that it had remaining questions about one of the studies cited to support the ban.

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