House Bill Would Ban Chlorpyrifos, Protect Kids

Federal lawmakers are done waiting for the Trump Administration to protect farmworkers and their families, our kids, and wildlife from chlorpyrifos, a dangerous nerve-toxic pesticide used on apples, peaches, and other fruits and vegetables that are kids’ favorites.

On the House side, Congresswoman Velázquez (D-NY) continues to show great leadership in defending the health and well-being of our families, and especially our children. Her bill proposing a ban on chlorpyrifos has already earned support from over 50 of her colleagues in the House, and been endorsed by over 50 health, labor, and environmental organizations, including NRDC.

Meanwhile, on the Senate side, Senator Udall (D-NM) continues to lead efforts to ban chlorpyrifos, following his introduction of the 2017 Nerve Agent Pesticide Act.

Ban Chlorpyrifos

It’s unusual for Congress to propose legislation dealing with a single substance, but chlorpyrifos is no ordinary chemical. An overwhelming body of science—including from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) itself—shows that exposure to even low levels of chlorpyrifos in early life can lead to increased risk of learning disabilities, reductions in IQ, developmental delay, and ADHD. In addition, a recent study by an international team of chemical experts (see Mie et al 2018; see my blog for US policy implications) found that EPA managers heavily relied on faulty science from Dow when it approved chlorpyrifos in the first place, despite warnings from its own experts that such data was faulty (see EPA 2000 Makris memo p. 9-11)!

EPA’s 2016 risk analysis found that kids face an unacceptable risk of exposure to chlorpyrifos in their diets. Farmworkers and their children, many of whom are Latinx, face additional, disproportionate risk because the chemical is used so close to where they live, work, and go to school—resulting in exposures from air, drinking water, and dust in their homes.

Nonetheless, under the Trump Administration, EPA continues to allow chlorpyrifos to be sprayed on many major crops, leaving children across the U.S. vulnerable. Last summer, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals directed EPA to finalize a proposed ban on chlorpyrifos, but instead, EPA is fighting that decision in the courts.

The Velázquez bill, H.R. 230, would give kids and their families long overdue protection from this dangerous pesticide.

About the Authors

Jennifer Sass

Senior Scientist, Federal Toxics, Health and Food, Healthy People & Thriving Communities Program

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