The Environmental Protection Agency, led by Andrew Wheeler, refused last week to ban chlorpyrifos, a neurotoxic pesticide that several studies funded by the agency have warned is tied to developmental delay in children.

This marks President Donald Trumps administration’s latest failure to heed warnings pertaining to public and environmental health concerns.

Under President Barack Obama in 2015, the EPA had proposed banning chlorpyrifos. Incidentally enough, Corteva — the manufacturer of the pesticide and a company previously known as DowDupont — donated $1 million to Trump’s inauguration in 2017. In the weeks after Trump took office, the administration started making several efforts to actively oppose the chlorpyrifos ban.

Chlorpyrifos, an organophosphate, is a pesticide whose exposure many scientific experts have tied to childhood cancers. It has also been discovered to be tied to greater risks of neurodevelopment issues like learning disabilities, ADHD, respiratory paralysis and death.

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Following the release of studies about the dangers of chlorpyrifos, many states have moved to ban it, among them New York, California and Hawaii. Maryland, Oregon and Connecticut are reportedly set to pas similar bans.

Chlorpyrifos is still used on several types of food crops like fruit, nuts, corn and soybeans.


According to Human Rights Watch, the EPA also failed to comply with standards of the Food Quality Protection Act, which requires the agency to prove there is a near-certainty that a given pesticide is not a threat to public health. The agency responded to environmental groups’ concerns that chlorpyrifos was dangerous by saying they did not have “sufficiently valid, complete or reliable data” proving it is a harmful substance.


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