After over a decade of fighting, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has finally scored a victory in securing the ban of the pesticide chlorpyrifos. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a court order to the EPA requiring it to ban the chemical agent, which has harmful neurodevelopmental effects. Longstanding studies have indicated that exposure to chlorpyrifos can lead to increased risk of learning disabilities such as ADHD, developmental delays, and a lower IQ.
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The NRDC and a coalition of labor and health organizations were represented by EarthJustice in the court case. The court found that the EPA broke the law by ignoring proven scientific evidence – including some evidence discovered by the agency itself – that chlorpyrifos could harm children who consumed produce treated with the chemical. Even small quantities of ingestion can cause developmental issues for some children, and so the long-overdue ban has left many parents relieved.
“Some things are too sacred to play politics with—and our kids top the list,” said Erik Olson, the senior director of NRDC’s Health and Food program. “This is a victory for parents everywhere who want to feed their kids fruits and veggies without fear it’s harming their brains or poisoning communities.”
States such as Hawaii had undertaken solitary battles against chlorpyrifos, banning it before the court ruling. However, many (including the NRDC) are upset it took so long for these protections to expand. Thankfully, yesterday’s court order mark a significant step toward protecting the food supply from chlorpyrifos at the national level.