Trump Administration Overturns Proposed Ban on Pesticide Linked to Learning Disabilities in Children

EPA Denies Petition and Allows Continued Use of Chemical Found in Unsafe Levels on Fruits & Vegetables

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today rejected a decade-old petition to ban chlorpyrifos—a pesticide linked to learning disabilities in children—despite the agency’s own analysis showing residues have been widely found on common fruits and vegetables at levels up to 14,000 percent higher than “safe” limits.

Significant science 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, autism and ADHD.

The following is a statement by Miriam Rotkin-Ellman, senior scientist at NRDC:

“The Trump administration is putting the needs of chemical corporations before children’s health. Parents shouldn’t have to worry that a dangerous chemical might be lurking in the fruits and veggies they feed their kids. If the EPA refuses to protect the American people from this hazardous pesticide, we’ll take them to court. The health of our children depends on it.”

NRDC has been pressing EPA to ban chlorpyrifos for nearly a decade. After years of delay, a court ordered the agency to respond to NRDC and Pesticide Action Network’s 2007 petition by March 31, 2017.

Earlier this year, NRDC joined nearly 50 doctors, nurses, public health experts and scientific researchers in urging the agency to  take swift action in light of new research suggesting much smaller concentrations of the pesticide than previously believed are dangerous to children.


The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 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 and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.