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A federal appeals court on Thursday is tossing the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ban on a pesticide that has been linked to brain damage in children. The decision from the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals to send the rule back to the agency does not preclude the agency from reinstating the ban in the future. But it said the EPA needs to give greater consideration to whether there are cases where the pesticide, called chlorpyrifos, could be used safely. Chlorpyrifos has been used as an insecticide, protecting crops like soybeans, broccoli, cauliflower and fruit trees. The EPA banned chlorpyrifos for use in growing food in 2021. That came after a prior court ruling gave the agency just 60 days to either find a safe use for chlorpyrifos or ban it outright. The appeals court determined that this deadline contributed to a rushed decision from EPA that was ultimately “arbitrary and capricious.” The ruling comes from Judges Lavenski Smith, Raymond Gruender and David Stras, two of whom were appointed by former President George W. Bush and one of whom was appointed by former President Trump. The chlorpyrifos issue has ping-ponged between administrations. The Obama administration had proposed to ban its use on food, but the Trump administration reversed course and had proposed to allow some uses of the chemical.
Note: Did you know that chlorpyrifos was originally developed by Nazis during World War II for use as a nerve gas? Read more about the history and politics of chlorpyrifos, and how U.S. regulators relied on falsified data to allow its use for years. See other concise news articles we've summarized about the harms of chlorpyrifos.
President Joe Biden announced that his administration planned to scrutinize a Trump-era decision to allow the continued use of chlorpyrifos, a pesticide that can damage children's brains. The Environmental Protection Agency went on to ban the use of the chemical on food. Yet when officials from around the world gathered in Rome last fall to consider whether to move forward with a proposed global ban on the pesticide, chlorpyrifos had a surprising defender: a senior official from the EPA. Karissa Kovner, a senior EPA policy adviser, is a key leader of the U.S. delegation at a United Nations body known as the Stockholm Convention, which governs some of the worst chemicals on the planet. Kovner made it clear that the U.S. was not ready to support taking the next step through the convention to provide similar protections for the rest of the world. The U.S. is known for throwing a wrench into the international convention's efforts to restrict pollutants. "They're usually seen as a country that raises objections to the regulation of chemicals," said [attorney] David Azoulay. Chlorpyrifos is so harmful that the American government not only banned its use on food but also barred the import of fruits and vegetables grown with it. Persistent organic pollutants ... lodge in fat cells, allowing them to spread from contaminated animals to anything that eats them. Humans sit at the top of this polluted food pyramid, and we can pass the chemicals to our babies through the umbilical cord before birth and through breast milk afterward.
Note: Did you know that chlorpyrifos was originally developed by Nazis during World War II for use as a nerve gas? Read more about the history and politics of chlorpyrifos, and how U.S. regulators relied on falsified data to allow its use for years. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the food system from reliable major media sources.
After 14 years of legal battles, a federal court ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to take actions that will likely force the neurotoxic pesticide chlorpyrifos off the market. The federal agency has for years been considering mounting evidence that links the pesticide to brain damage in children — including loss of IQ, learning difficulties, ADHD, and autism — but, as the court acknowledged, has repeatedly delayed taking action. “Rather than ban the pesticide or reduce the tolerances to levels that the EPA could find were reasonably certain to cause no harm, the EPA sought to evade through delay tactics its plain statutory duty,” Judge Jed S. Rakoff wrote in his decision. “During that time, the EPA’s egregious delay exposed a generation of American children to unsafe levels of chlorpyrifos,” he wrote, and ordered the EPA to issue a final regulation within 60 days. More than 5 million pounds of chlorpyrifos were applied to crops in 2017, according to the most recent data. The EPA was poised to ban chlorpyrifos in 2016, but the Trump EPA changed course. The reversal, made under EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, has been tied to a $1 million contribution to President Donald Trump’s inaugural fund from Dow Chemical Company, now known as Corteva, which was the primary producer of chlorpyrifos. Patti Goldman, an attorney at Earthjustice who has been overseeing the chlorpyrifos litigation since 2014, said the disparity between the science and the EPA’s refusal to act reached new heights during the Trump years.
Pediatrician Carla Nelson ... waited for the ambulance plane to take the infant from Waimea, on the island of Kauai, to the main childrens hospital in Honolulu. It was the fourth [severe heart malformation] she had seen in three years. There have been at least nine in five years, she says, shaking her head. Thats more than 10 times the national rate. Corn thats been genetically modified to resist pesticides [is] a major cash crop on four of [Hawaii's] six main islands. In Kauai, chemical companies Dow, BASF, Syngenta and DuPont spray 17 times more pesticide per acre than on ordinary cornfields in the US mainland. About a fourth of the total are called Restricted Use Pesticides because of their harmfulness. Just in Kauai, 18 tons mostly atrazine, paraquat (both banned in Europe) and chlorpyrifos were applied in 2012. The World Health Organization this year announced that glyphosate, sold as Roundup, the most common of the non-restricted herbicides, is probably carcinogenic in humans. When the spraying is underway ... residents complain of stinging eyes, headaches and vomiting. At these times, many crowd the waiting rooms of the towns main hospital, which was run until recently by Dow AgroSciences former chief lobbyist in Honolulu. The chemical companies that grow the corn ... refuse to disclose with any precision which chemicals they use, where and in what amounts, but they insist the pesticides are safe. Today, about 90% of industrial GMO corn grown in the US was originally developed in Hawaii.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing GMO news articles from reliable major media sources.