Last week saw a big shakeup at the EPA when embattled EPA head Scott Pruitt resigned. Pruitt leaves behind a wake of turmoil and dirtier policies that often contradict the EPAs own findings. Among his actions as EPA chief, Pruitt aborted last minute an EPA proposal to ban the pesticide chorpyrifos in March 2017, siding with pesticide lobbyists over his own EPA scientists, to allow the toxic chemical to be sprayed on food.
Chorpyrifos (try saying that five times fast) — even in small doses — is a widely-used pesticide that can damage parts of the brain that control language, memory, behavior and emotion, and exposure to chlorpyrifos is linked to reduced IQ and attention deficit disorder in children. The EPA’s own studies concluded that levels of the pesticide currently found on food and in drinking water are unsafe.
S.1624 – Protect Children, Farmers, and Farmworkers from Nerve Agent Pesticides Act of 2017
A group of Senators responded to Pruitt’s abortion of the ban by proposing legislation that would prevent 30 million pounds of the pesticide to be sprayed on our food over the next 5 years.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
- With Pruitt out of office, call on our Utah Senators to support S.1624 (the Protect Children, Farmers, and Farmworkers from Nerve Agent Pesticides Act of 2017) and push for the bill to get a vote to help protect our food and water and our children’s health!
Sen. Orrin Hatch (202) 224-5251 (DC) // (801) 524-4380 (SLC) // (801) 375-7881 (Provo) // (435) 634-1795 (St. George) // (801) 625-5672 (Ogden) // (435) 586-8435 (Cedar City)
Sen. Mike Lee 202-224-5444 (DC) // 801-524-5933 (SLC) // 435-628-5514 (St. George) // 801-392-9633 (Ogden)
- Chlorpyrifos, an organophosphate which comes from the same chemical family as sarin nerve gas, is used on staple foods like strawberries, apples, citrus, broccoli, and more.
- The EPA’s own calculations suggest that babies, children and pregnant women all eat much more chlorpyrifos than is safe. In fact, the EPA estimates that typical exposure for babies is five times higher than what the agency considers safe. For toddlers and older children, exposure is 11 to 15 times what is considered safe, and for pregnant women, five times higher than necessary to protect the developing fetus.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics urged Pruitt to reconsider his action and proceed with the ban. So did health and environmental groups and the attorney generals of several states.
- In refusing a ban, the EPA reversed its own proposal to ban all food crop uses of chlorpyrifos.
- Environmental and health groups, as well as attorney generals from various states, filled appeals on the EPA decision and called for a ban.
- Chlorpyrifos was banned from residential use 17 years ago as it was considered too toxic. But the use of the same pesticide on the country’s food continues even though the 1996 Food Quality Protection Act requires EPA to protect children from unsafe exposures to pesticides. (Earthjustice)
- Chlorpyrifos poses an extra risk to farmworkers and their families, and people living near agricultural fields, and children attending school near fields where the chemical is sprayed.
- Chlorpyrifos may threaten the survival of bees.