Chlorpyrifos: the US court orders to ban pesticides that damage development in children

The San Francisco Court of Appeals obliged the EPA to definitively rule on chlorpyrifos by banning it within 60 days

He is about to end up run over, his mother saves him

Some pesticides have been shown to be particularly dangerous for children, including chlorpyrifos. Now in the United States a court ordered the EPA to make a final decision on this substance (read the sentence here).

Chlorpyrifos is one of the most controversial pesticides in the world, which has been under discussion for several years now and has been the subject of lawsuits several times. Scientific studies have shown that chlorpyrifos damages the brains of fetuses and babies and for this reason it has already been banned by the European Union and Californiato. However, it is still used in other areas of the United States.

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals based in San Francisco has now taken a drastic stance, ordering the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to quickly determine whether or not this pesticide is linked to brain damage in children and, if the answer is affirmative, to prohibit it definitively.  

It all has to be done in the next 60 days, this is the maximum time within which the final position of the EPA is asked which must be clearly stated: if the pesticide is safe, even for babies and children, it can continue to be used, otherwise it must be prohibited.

“The EPA had nearly 14 years to publish a legally sufficient response to the 2007 petition (to ban chlorpyrifos). During this time, the EPA's enormous delay exposed a generation of American children to dangerous levels of chlorpyrifos. By referring to the EPA one last time, rather than forcing the immediate revocation of all tolerances to chlorpyrifos, the court itself is more than tolerant. But the EPA's time is up, ”the San Francisco court said.

The decision comes after a years-long battle against this pesticide, which is widely used on oranges, soybeans, almonds and other crops in the United States.

Already during the Obama administration, the EPA had initiated a ban, but the agency later overturned that decision shortly after President Donald Trump took office in 2017. The EPA also rejected legal action in 2019 , claiming that environmental groups had failed to prove the ban was justified.

Now the new decision of the San Francisco court has been well received by the various associations that have been fighting for a long time to ban this pesticide:  

“The EPA must now follow the law, ban chlorpyrifos and protect children and farm workers from a pesticide we know is linked to numerous developmental harms. It would be inconceivable for the EPA to expose children to this pesticide for a while, ”said Patti Goldman, lead lawyer for Earthjustice.

The final decision and related EPA action are expected by the end of June.  

Fonte: Epa, Human Rights Watch,Earthjustice

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