In a ruling welcomed by public health advocates, a federal court on Friday ordered the Trump administration to stop stalling a potential ban on a pesticide linked to brain damage in children, giving regulators until mid-July to make a final decision.
“While we are moving forward, the tragedy is that children are being exposed to chlorpyrifos, a pesticide science has long shown is unsafe.”
—Patti Goldman, Earthjustice
Citing unacceptable health risks for children, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ended household use of chlorpyrifos in 2000. However, farmers can still use the pesticide—which is also tied to nervous system problems in people and animals—on crops such as apples, broccoli, corn, and strawberries.
The unanimous ruling (pdf) Friday from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit is the latest development in a drawn out court battle between the EPA—which blocked a planned agricultural ban on chlorpyrifos in 2017—and the anti-pesticide, environmental, and farmworkers organizations who disagreed with that decision.
Earthjustice attorney Patti Goldman, who represents the groups fighting to ban the pesticide from foods, commended the court for its ruling in a statement Friday.
“While we are moving forward, the tragedy is that children are being exposed to chlorpyrifos, a pesticide science has long shown is unsafe,” she said. “We hope Trump’s EPA finally decides to protect the future of countless children and the health of millions of farmworkers.”
Noting that public health advocates have been working to outlaw the pesticide for more than a decade, Natural Resources Defense Council senior attorney Mae Wu said, “All the science says EPA must ban.”
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