On Friday, a federal court ordered the Trump administration must make a final decision regarding a potential ban on chlorpyrifos by min-July. The EPA, which has been dragging its feet regarding the agricultural use of the pesticide that is linked to brain damage in children, banned household use of chlorpyrifos in 2000.
Chlorpyrifos, which is also linked to nervous system problems in both people and animals, is used on crops such as apples, broccoli, corn and strawberries, Common Dreams reported.
The ruling handed down by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit initially ruled that the “EPA had illegally impeded the ban and ordered the agency to finalize its proposal” in August 2018 after Scott Pruitt “blocked the ban on chlorpyrifos in March 2017” after meeting with the seller and lobbyist of the pesticide, Down Chemical, Common Dreams reported. Since then, the EPA requested for a rehearsing, which the appeals court granted this past February.
“We’ll find out in three months if the Trump EPA remains under the tight control of the chemical agriculture industry, or if Administrator Wheeler will finally take his job seriously and ban this brain-damaging pesticide,” Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, said. “It’s deplorable that Wheeler has defied the court’s order for almost nine months, and it’s time for him to do his job and protect public health.”
While health advocates said that “all the science says EPA must ban,” the EPA has until mid-July to make a final decision on the highly controversial pesticide.
“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 attorney, said. “We hope Trump’s EPA finally decides to protect the future of countless children and the health of millions of farm workers.”