Fighting back: Six states sue the EPA over its approval of pesticide linked to brain damage

“The EPA is egregiously sacrificing our children’s health by refusing to make a determination on this dangerous pesticide.”


Last month the EPA announced that despite urging from the scientific community, it will not ban the dangerous pesticide chlorpyrifos. Now six states are fighting back against the decision.

California, New York, Massachusetts, Washington, Maryland and Vermont have filed a lawsuit against the EPA arguing the chloypyrifos poses a significant danger to human health and should be banned.

A similar lawsuit has been filed by Earthjustice on behalf of the environmental and health groups that advocate for environmentalists, farmworkers, and people with learning disabilities.

The EPA argues that environmental groups do not have enough data to determine that chlorpyrifos isn’t safe.

“Registration review is a comprehensive, scientific and transparent process that will further evaluate the potential effects of chlorpyrifos. EPA has also been engaged in discussions with the chlorpyrifos registrants that could result in further use limitations,” the EPA told The Hill.

The state of California, which is also fighting the EPA over their decision to block the state’s ability to put warning labels on products containing glyphosate, is furious. “California is doing its part to address the harms of this pesticide and it’s time for D.C. to do theirs,” said California Governor Gavin Newsom.“Chlorpyrifos causes significant harm to our children, farmworkers, and vulnerable communities.”

“Parents shouldn’t have to question whether everyday fruits and vegetables will poison their children,” California Attorney General Becerra said. “The EPA is egregiously sacrificing our children’s health by refusing to make a determination on this dangerous pesticide.”

The states argue that the EPA failed to comply with the language in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act that requires the agency to  “ensure that there’s reasonable certainty that no harm will result to infants and children from exposure over time to the pesticide’s chemical residue.”

“Rather than carrying the burden of finding that the tolerances of Chlorpyrifos are safe, the EPA wrongly placed the burden on the petitioners to furnish “valid, complete, and reliable data that set forth why tolerances are unsafe,” stated the lawsuit.

Chlorpyrifos is a pesticide used in a variety of crops. It has been linked to developmental disabilities, learning and memory issues, prolonged nerve and muscle stimulation, and other serious health problems in children. It was banned by the EPA in 2001 for household use.


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