Tell the Senate: Ban brain-harming toxic pesticides in school lunches
Here's a scary and dangerous fact: Millions of school children in the United States could unknowingly be ingesting a brain-harming toxic pesticide just by eating seemingly safe school lunches.
The pesticide, chlorpyrifos, is linked to a whole host of developmental disabilities and neurological disorders and is so dangerous that the EPA banned the toxin for home use nearly two decades ago. Yet Big Ag still sprays nearly 10 million pounds of the chemical on food crops, including fruits and vegetables that end up on school lunch tables across the country.
A new bill in the Senate could protect school kids from this dangerous neurotoxin. Sen. Kirsten Gillbrand recently introduced the "Safe School Meals for Kids Act," which would restrict schools from purchasing food with any detectable amount of chlorpyrifos, effectively banning the chemical from school food.1 We must build public support behind this bill to ensure children are no longer exposed to this harmful toxin.
Tell the Senate: Ban brain-harming toxic pesticides in school lunches.
Chlorpyrifos is the most widely used insecticide in the world and belongs to the same family as sarin nerve gas.2 This toxic chemical poses a massive risk for children, whose brains are nervous systems are still developing. People who have been exposed to the toxin have experienced permanent changes in brain structure, loss of IQ, increased likelihood of children developing ADHD or other developmental and behavioral disorders, reduced lung function, asthma, and cancer.3
The EPA found that children who eat fruits and vegetables sprayed with chlorpyrifos could be exposed to it at levels 140 times what the EPA considers safe.4 And it's not just school children who are affected: Rural children in agricultural areas are exposed to drifting pesticides, and farmworkers, many of whom are immigrants, who apply the toxins on crops are exposed to unsafe levels of chlorpyrifos even when they wear protective gear.
Activism to ban this extremely dangerous pesticide is working. Thousands of CREDO activists in New York recently signed petitions to help our allies successfully convince the state legislature to pass ban all chlorpyrifos by 2021, and a similar ban in Hawaii goes into effect in 2022.5 A nationwide ban should have been enacted last year, however the Trump administration continues to appeal court rulings compelling the EPA to ban the chemical.
In the absence of a full ban on chlorpyrifos, Sen. Gillibrand's bill is a critical measure to provide safe food in schools and protect children from this neurotoxic pesticide. We must make sure that every senator who cares about the health and safety of America's children supports this legislation.
Thank you for speaking out.
- Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, "Gillibrand Introduces New Legislation To Eliminate Pesticide From Food In School Meals," April 17, 2019.
- Zoë Schlanger, "The US government is ignoring its own scientists’ warning that a Dow pesticide causes brain damage in children," Quartz, March 30, 2017.
- Pesticide Action Network, "Chlorpyrifos," accessed May 3, 2019.
- Earthjustice, "Chlorpyrifos," accessed May 3, 2019.
- Dan Flynn, "New York steps ahead of Hawaii on agricultural pesticide chlorpyrifos," Food Safety News, May 3, 2019.