Credo Action

Tell Congress: Ban all toxic nerve agents in our food

Sign the petition

The petition to Congress reads:

"Organophosphates are extremely toxic pesticides linked to neurological disorders, long-term damage to children's brains and cancer. Pass Rep. Nydia Velázquez's Ban Nerve Agents in Our Food Act of 2018 Act to ban all classes of organophosphates."

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    Tell Congress: Ban all toxic nerve agents in our food

    Rachel Carson called them "among the most poisonous chemicals in the world."1 They're linked to a whole host of debilitating neurological disorders, long-term damage to children's brains and even cancer. And they're in the same chemical family as sarin nerve gas.2

    Yet, despite overwhelming evidence that organophosphates are extremely toxic and deadly pesticides, Trump's EPA continues to allow Big Ag to spray millions of pounds of the chemicals on our food and public spaces each year, posing a massive threat to consumers, children, wildlife and farmworkers, many of whom are immigrants.3

    Rep. Nydia Velázquez has introduced legislation called the Ban Nerve Agents in Our Food Act of 2018 to finally ban all classes of organophosphates. We must demand that Congress pass this legislation immediately.

    Tell Congress: Ban all toxic nerve agents in our food.

    Worldwide, an estimated 3 million people are exposed to organophosphates, resulting in approximately 300,000 deaths every year.4 Chlorpyrifos, a popular organophosphate, is one of the most widely used pesticides in the United States, and people who have been exposed to the chemical have experienced permanent changes in brain structure, loss of IQ, an increased likelihood of children developing ADHD or other developmental and behavioral disorders, reduced lung function, asthma, and cancer.5

    In 2015, President Obama's EPA proposed banning chlorpyrifos for all agricultural uses, but in March 2017, Trump's former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt reversed that decision, claiming the science behind the chemical's toxic effects were inconclusive.6 Media reports at the time suggest Dow Chemical, the major manufacturer of chlorpyrifos, significantly influenced Pruitt's decision.7

    This past August, our allies at Earthjustice, which represents environmental and farm worker groups, won a huge victory when a federal appeals court reversed the EPA's decision not to enforce the ban and forced the EPA to comply within 60 days.8 But late last month, Trump's EPA filed a motion to rehear the case, further delaying the ban and putting more lives at stake. As Patti Goldman, Earthjustice managing attorney, put it, "Every day we go without a ban, children and farmworkers are needlessly eating, drinking and breathing this dreadful pesticide.”9

    Tell Congress: Ban all toxic nerve agents in our food.

    Activism to force lawmakers to regulate and ban organophosphates is starting to work – but we can't let up. After massive pressure by CREDO members and our allies at the Pesticide Action Network, Friends of the Earth and other organizations, California regulators finally added chlorpyrifos to its "Prop 65" list of chemicals that cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm.10

    However, California – where more than 900,000 pounds of the chemicals are applied each year to crops and fields affecting the lives of countless farm workers and children – has failed to ban chlorpyrifos and other deadly organophosphates. With insufficient action at the state level and Trump's EPA siding with the chemical industry over consumers, we must speak out and build public pressure to pass Rep. Velázquez's important legislation to protect children, farm workers and our food supply immediately.

    Tell Congress: Ban all toxic nerve agents in our food.

    Thank you for everything you do.

    References:

    1. Rachel Carson, "Silent Spring," 1962.
    2. Zoë Schlanger, "The US government is ignoring its own scientists’ warning that a Dow pesticide causes brain damage in children," Quartz, March 30, 2017.
    3. Donald Atwood and Claire Paisley-Jones, "Pesticides Industry Sales and Usage: 2008 – 2012 Market Estimates," U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2017.
    4. Erika L. Robb; Mari B. Baker, "Organophosphate Toxicity," StatPearls, National Center for Biotechnology Information, Sept. 8, 2018.
    5. Pesticide Action Network, "Chlorpyrifos," accessed Oct. 15, 2018.
    6. Eric Lipton, "E.P.A. Chief, Rejecting Agency’s Science, Chooses Not to Ban Insecticide," The New York Times, March 29, 2017.
    7. Lorraine Chow, "EPA Chief Met With Dow Chemical CEO Before Deciding Not to Ban Toxic Pesticide," EcoWatch, June 28, 2017.
    8. Maura Dolan, "Appeals court orders Trump administration to ban pesticide harmful to children's brains within 60 days," Los Angeles Times, Aug. 09, 2018.
    9. Earthjustice, "EPA Again Drags Its Feet On Banning A Pesticide Linked To Brain Damage In Children," Sept. 24, 2018.
    10. Sammy Caiola, "Chlorpyrifos Makes California List Of Most Dangerous Chemicals," Capital Public Radio, Dec. 1, 2017.