Hawaii Bans Pesticide Toxic to Kids, While Pruitt’s EPA Refuses

Hawaii Governor David Ige today signed a bill that bans the use of chlorpyrifos—a pesticide linked to learning disabilities—in the state. Meanwhile, at the federal level, under Administrator Scott Pruitt’s leadership the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reversed a proposed nationwide ban on the chemical last year.

A statement follows from Miriam Rotkin-Ellman, senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council:

“Hawaii is showing the Trump administration that the states will stand up for our kids, even when Washington will not. Scott Pruitt is doing everything he can to keep this pesticide on the market, benefiting the administration’s friends at Dow Chemical—despite his own agency’s warning that it is toxic to children’s brains. This is a hard-fought victory for public health and community protections over corporate profits led by mothers, teachers, doctors and community members. Like those who tirelessly fought for this ban in Hawaii, we will continue to fight back to get this pesticide off the fruits and vegetables we feed our kids nationwide.”


The move comes after nearly six years of advocacy from from Protect our Keiki coalition, Hawaii Center for Food Safety, Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action, Pesticide Action Network, Hawai'i SEED and communities across the islands who have been demanding protections from harmful pesticides and healthier farming practices.

At the national level, NRDC has been fighting for nearly a decade to get chlorpyrifos out of our food supply. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was finally on track to ban it at the end of 2016. Shortly after taking office, however, the Trump administration reversed course—allowing it to continue being sprayed all over numerous U.S. food crops, including kid favorites like apples and oranges.

Significant science—including from EPA itself—shows that exposure to low levels of the pesticide in early life can lead to increased risk of learning disabilities, including reductions in IQ, developmental delay and ADHD.

Dow Chemical—the nation’s largest manufacturer of chlorpyrifos—has close ties to the President. The company reportedly donated $1 million for Trump’s inauguration and its CEO previously played a chief advisory role to the president, heading up his now defunct “American Manufacturing Council.”

NRDC is continuing to fight EPA in court to get the chemical off the market nationwide. For more information, go to: https://www.nrdc.org/chlorpyrifos.


The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.