Friday, 18 August, 2017

EPA Rejects Own Science to Greenlight Brain-Damaging Pesticide

Jeannie Matthews | 03 April, 2017, 04:35

Seattle filed a lawsuit Wednesday over President Donald Trump's executive order that threatens to withhold federal funds from communities that refuse to cooperate with efforts to find and deport immigrants in the. But when those exposures are combined with estimated exposure from drinking water in certain watersheds, "EPA can not conclude that the risk from aggregate exposure meets the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act safety standard", it said.

Since 2000, chlorpyrifos has been banned for most household use. In 2007 the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Pesticide Action Network petitioned the EPA to ban food uses of chlorpyrifos, and they later sued the agency to compel a ruling on the petition. This political and legal back-and-forth may become the new normal for the Trump Administration as it seeks to balance a more "business friendly" regulatory approach with the stringent requirements of the statutory duties of underlying authorizing legislation across all of EPA's programs. When Wesley Spurlock, a farmer in the panhandle of Texas, sees worms on his corn or aphids on his wheat, this is the chemical that he typically loads into his sprayer.

"Based on the harm that this pesticide causes, the EPA can not, consistent with the law, allow it in our food", says Patti Goldman, an attorney with the environmental advocacy group Earthjustice.

In deciding to allow the chemical to continue to be used in orchards such as those in the Northwest, the EPA, under new Administrator Scott Pruitt, rejected scientific conclusions made during the Obama administration. For one thing, the agency had to come up with an estimate of how much chlorpyrifos the women had been exposed to, based on levels of chlorpyrifos in their blood.

Environmental groups described the EPA ruling as unconscionable.

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Jim Jones, a former assistant administrator of the EPA who was in-charge of pesticide regulation, admitted that the EPA struggled with translating these findings into a prediction of risks for chlorpyrifos residues on food.

The law against pesticides doesn't mince words: it strictly prohibits chemicals that can not demonstrate "a reasonable certainty that no harm will result" to consumers or anyone else exposed to these pesticides.

The EPA's analysis of children's sensitivity to chlorpyrifos drew upon studies by Columbia University, Mount Sinai School of Medicine and the University of California, Berkeley.

Unsurprisingly, Dow Agrosciences, which sells chlorpyrifos, applauded Pruitt's move. For now, it seems that mothers looking to protect their unborn children from behavioral issues, nervous system issues, and decreased I.Q. are safest sticking with naturally grown, pesticide-free food - at least until the EPA is no longer so "uncertain". But Dow Chemical, which makes the product, praised the decision.

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