The Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) along with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency over chlorpyrifos, what the groups claim is a toxic pesticide that can disrupt development in fetuses and small children.
Chlorpyrifos is an insecticide widely used in agriculture—about 10 million pounds worth annually are applied to food crops. It’s commonly applied to corn, grapes, oranges and almonds, as well as used on golf courses and in other public areas, with one-fifth of its total application occurring in California. It was also widely used in household applications as well, but in 2000 the agency banned it from household products with the exceptions of ant and roach baits.
PANNA and NRDC filed a petition with the EPA back in 2007 to ban chlorpyrifos from all uses. The groups hope the lawsuit will result in a total ban of the pesticide. The groups also want the EPA to release its updated human health risk assessment on chlorpyrifos and make it available for public comment in December, “along with either a proposed revocation rule or a proposed denial of the petition,” explains Food Safety News. In addition to the risks to fetuses and children, the groups say chlorpyrifos is a toxic pesticide that can cause nausea, dizziness and confusion. At very high exposures, it has also been connected with respiratory paralysis and death.
“EPA’s failure to make a final decision on the 2007 Petition leaves children at risk of harm from chlorpyrifos exposure and leaves PANNA without legal remedies to challenge EPA’s ongoing failure to take necessary steps to protect children,” the groups wrote in the complaint filed earlier this month.
But the California Farm Bureau Federation has opposed a ban, and according to SF Gate, the bureau stated that “EPA’s own studies have shown the pesticide can be applied safely.”