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Tell the EPA: Ban this toxic brain-harming pesticide

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    Tell the EPA: Ban this toxic brain-harming pesticide

    You’ve probably never heard of the pesticide chlorpyrifos, and that’s a good thing. Home and garden use of chlorpyrifos was banned over a decade ago because of clear evidence of its neurotoxicity in children. Reduced IQ and memory impairment are just two of the possible effects of the harm it’s been shown to have on developing brains and nervous systems.1

    But shockingly, agricultural use of chlorpyrifos continues to be allowed, and it’s one of the most widely used insecticides on American farms today. It poses a major health risk to farmworkers and children in rural communities, and it’s time to ban chlorpyrifos completely.

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is accepting public comments until April 30 on its latest review of chlorpyrifos and its safety, so now is the time to make our voices heard on this toxic threat to Americans’ health.

    Tell the EPA: Ban the agricultural use of brain-harming chlorpyrifos.

    Many insecticides are effective at killing insects while not posing a serious health hazard to human beings. But chlorpyrifos is not one of them.

    Once commonly used in homes and yards to kill cockroaches and other pests, the EPA banned its domestic use in 2001 when the evidence of its toxic effects on nervous systems became overwhelming. Multiple studies have shown that exposure to chlorpyrifos during pregnancy, infancy, and early childhood can result in low birth weight, reduced head circumference, attention deficits, memory impairment, and lowered IQ.2

    Since then, while home use has dropped, agricultural use has continued. Up to 10 million pounds of chlorpyrifos are applied to agricultural fields every year in the U.S.

    Now, after legal petitions and lawsuits filed by environmental groups, the EPA conducted and released its human health risk assessment. Despite an overreliance on studies conducted by chemical company Dow – the manufacturer of chlorpyrifos – the assessment still showed an unacceptable level of risk to farmworkers and children in surrounding communities.3 The report highlighted a particular risk from drinking water contamination.

    The EPA is now deciding what new actions to take based on this new assessment, and we have until April 30 to make sure they know Americans demand nothing less than a full ban on this toxic chemical.

    Tell the EPA: Ban the agricultural use of brain-harming chlorpyrifos.

    Thank you for your activism.

    1. Brett Israel and Environmental Health News, "Common Insecticide May Harm Boys' Brains More Than Girls'," Scientific American, August 21, 2012.

    2. Ibid.

    3. EPA Press Release, "EPA Revised Chlorpyrifos Assessment Shows Risk to Workers," Environmental Protection Agency, January 5, 2015.