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EPA Sued to Ban Neurotoxic Insecticide Use on Crops

Last week, the Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), asking the court to ban chlorpyrifos, an insecticide that can interfere with the brain development of fetuses, infants and children.

Chlorpyrifos can cause nausea, dizziness and confusion, and, at very high exposures, respiratory paralysis and death.

To address these health risks, EPA banned all household uses of chlorpyrifos in 2000 except for ant and roach bait in child-proof packaging.

In 2007, PANNA, NRDC and Earthjustice petitioned the agency to extend the ban to all uses. This new lawsuit is the groups’ attempt to compel EPA to respond in full.

Approximately 10 million pounds of the insecticide are applied annually in agricultural settings, but EPA states that, “Dietary exposures from eating food crops treated with chlorpyrifos are below the level of concern for the entire U.S. population, including infants and children.”

“EPA’s failure to make a final decision on the 2007 Petition leaves children at risk of harm from chlorpyrifos exposure and leaves PANNA without legal remedies to challenge EPA’s ongoing failure to take necessary steps to protect children,” reads the complaint filed Sept. 10.

The groups want EPA to release its revised human health risk assessment on chlorpyrifos for public comment in December 2014, along with either a proposed revocation rule or a proposed denial of the petition.

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