EPA Reverses Move to Ban Chlorpyrifos

Farmers will be able to keep using Lorsban.

If you want to keep using Lorsban for tasks like controlling cutworm in corn and insects in other labeled crops, you can. Earlier this week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) denied a petition that sought to ban chlorpyrifos, the active ingredient in Lorsban and other organophosphate insecticides.

“We need to provide regulatory certainty to the thousands of American farms that rely on chlorpyrifos, while still protecting human health and the environment,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt in an EPA news release. “By reversing the previous administration’s steps to ban one of the most widely used pesticides in the world, we are returning to using sound science in decision-making – rather than predetermined results.”

In October 2015, under the Obama Administration, EPA proposed to revoke all food residue tolerances for chlorpyrifos, according to the EPA release. This proposal was issued in response to a petition from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Pesticide Action Network North America.

EPA’s news release said public record lays out serious scientific concerns and substantive process gaps in the proposal. Reliable data, overwhelming in both quantity and quality, contradicts the reliance on – and misapplication of – studies to establish the end points and conclusions used to rationalize the proposal, the EPA release said.

Not everyone supports the decision.

“EPA turned a blind-eye to extensive scientific evidence and peer reviews documenting serious harm to children and their developing brains, including increased risk of learning disabilities, reductions in IQ, developmental delay, autism, and ADHD,” said Miriam Rotkin-Ellman, senior scientist at NRDC in a Pesticide Action Network news release. “Today’s decision means children across the country will continue to be exposed to unsafe pesticide residues in their food and drinking water.”

“The new administration’s agency ignored the findings of their own scientists that all exposures to chlorpyrifos on foods, in drinking water, and from pesticide drift into schools, homes, and playgrounds are unsafe,” added Kristin Schafer, policy director for Pesticide Action Network in the Pesticide Action Network news release.

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