EPA Head Ignores Science, Doesn’t Ban Dangerous Insecticide

As if it weren’t obvious enough that the new Environmental Protection Agency head does not care for science or public safety, Scott Pruitt has decided to ignore his own agency’s scientific recommendations and instead continue to approve the use of a seemingly dangerous insecticide on crops.

The chemical in question is chlorpyrifos, often sold under the name Lorsban by Dow Chemical. Scientific research led the Obama administration to recommend a ban of the product on farms.

Sign the petition: Ask the California EPA to ban the insecticide anyway.

Chlorpyrifos has been on the market since 1965, but it’s had a spotty history along the way. 17 years ago, the U.S. opted to phase out chlorpyrifos in household products given its adverse effects to human health.

That decision did not prevent farmers from using chlorpyrifos, however. Today there are about 40,000 American farms that spray the insecticide on dozens of types of food crops.

A decade ago, the Natural Resources Defense Council teamed with the Pesticide Action Network North America to formally petition the U.S. to toss out chlorpyrifos for farm use, too. The EPA agreed to conduct studies and, over time, researchers found that farmers, as well as kids who live adjacent to these farms, suffered a decline in cognitive functioning, including memory.

Dow Chemical objected to the EPA’s findings, saying that the science wasn’t conclusive enough. Now that Pruitt is in charge of the agency, he apparently agrees.

“We need to provide regulatory certainty to the thousands of American farms that rely on chlorpyrifos… By reversing the previous administration’s steps to ban one of the most widely used pesticides in the world, we are returning to using sound science in decision-making rather than predetermined results,” said Pruitt.

That’s not how the scientific community operates, though. By nature, scientists do not declare things with 100 percent certainty, as research is an ongoing process. At the same time, that doesn’t mean we should disregard scientific findings because we can’t be entirely positive. We need to make informed decisions to protect public health and safety with the information we have.

Besides, there’s a law that stipulates that the EPA is obligated to ban any insecticides that the agency cannot scientifically show to be safe. Given that the studies have come back multiple times showing ways that it is not safe, Pruitt shouldn’t feel entitled to make approve it anyway.

It’s not as if Pruitt is committing to continue studying the insecticide in the upcoming years. Instead, he made the decision “final,” which means that the EPA probably won’t consider readdressing any requests to study the chemical’s safety until at least 2022.

Let’s not take this news lying down, though. Stand up to the Trump administration’s disregard for scientific findings by participating in a March for Science event on April 22 – marches are planned all across the country.

On top of that, if the federal EPA isn’t going to act on chlorpyrifos, perhaps we can talk the agricultural center of the U.S. – California – into doing it instead. Sign this petition asking the head of CA’s EPA to listen to the science on the widely used insecticide and protect public safety.

137 comments

Melania P
Melania Padilla6 days ago

Ignorance and greed have been, and always will be dangerous....

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Carl R
Carl R25 days ago

thanks!!!

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S J
S J27 days ago

I have been waiting to see Trump admin do something good for the nation, let's hope. Thank you for sharing

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Ann B
Ann B28 days ago

this leaves NO hope for butterflies frogs turtles---and in the end NO HOPE FOR MANKIND poison is POISON get it!!!

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Jaime J
Jaime J29 days ago

Thank you

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Kyle N
Kyle Nabout a month ago

Shailja Mukhtyar Farmers need this as a very important tool to control certain crop destorying insects when they do occur. A few years ago without it the county I live in would have lost the soybean crop to soybean aphids, a few years before that wheat crop would have been destroyed by aphids and armyworms. In the early 90s the entire state would have lost their crops to grasshoppers, locusts. It may not be regularly used, but is very important when needed!

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Shirley Plowman
Shirley Pabout a month ago

IF the EPA has no mission to help citizens eat healthy, then what is their purpose, besides sleeping with the enemies?

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Bearaabout a month ago

I wonder what kind of food this man eats?

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Mark p
Mark mucabout a month ago

thx...

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Carl R
Carl Rabout a month ago

thanks

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