The pesticide chlorpyrifos has been widely used on crops like soybeans, fruit and nut trees, broccoli and cauliflower since 1965. It has been linked to neurological problems in children.
The Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday announced that it will ban the use of a common pesticide on food crops, citing health concerns for farmers and children.
The pesticide, chlorpyrifos, has been widely used on crops like soybeans, fruit and nut trees, broccoli and cauliflower since 1965. It has been linked to neurological problems 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 Regan said in a statement. “After the delays and denials of the prior administration, EPA will follow the science and put health and safety first.”
The Trump administration reversed action from the Obama administration to ban the pesticide.
Environmental groups cheered the EPA’s final rule, which will take effect in six months.
“We strongly commend the Biden administration for taking this dangerous bug killer off the market,” Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook said in a statement. “The most important lesson for the public to take away from today’s decision is that the government insisted chlorpyrifos in our food was completely safe, right up until the moment when it was banned for being too dangerous. There are many, many other pesticides currently on the market with government approval that are manifestly unsafe and should be immediately banned or severely restricted.”
But the decision is likely to face pushback from the chemical industry and farming groups.
When California announced a ban on the sale of chlorpyrifos in 2019, the American Farm Bureau Federation said that decision would “do little to achieve supposed health outcomes and instead will cause farmers to bear the brunt of poor decision making based on data that lacks scientific integrity.