EPA bans chlorpyrifos use on food crops

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos on food crops due to its link to health problems in children. In a statement released on Aug. 18, the agency stated that it will also revoke all tolerances for chlorpyrifos, “which establish an amount of a pesticide that is allowed on food.”

This decision comes in response to the Ninth Court’s order directing EPA to issue a final rule in response to the 2007 petition filed by Pesticide Action Network North America and Natural Resources Defense Council. The petition requested that the EPA revoke all chlorpyrifos tolerances, or the maximum allowed residue levels in food, because those tolerances were not safe, in part due to the potential for neurodevelopmental effects in children.

“Today EPA is taking an overdue step to protect public health. Ending the use of chlorpyrifos on food will help to ensure children, farmworkers, and all people are protected from the potentially dangerous consequences of this pesticide,” EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said in the statement. “After the delays and denials of the prior administration, EPA will follow the science and put health and safety first.”

This restriction on chlorpyrifos use on food follows similar actions taken by several other countries, including the European Union and Canada, and some states, including California, Hawaii, New York, Maryland, and Oregon.

The EPA said the agency will continue to review replacements and alternatives to chlorpyrifos.