Udall introduces bill to ban brain-damaging insecticide that EPA decided can still be used on farms

Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico and seven other Democratic senators introduced a bill Tuesday to regulate or ban a neurotoxic insecticide if the Environmental Protection Agency cannot prove it is safe. You can read a summary of the bill, S. 1624, here.

An organophosphate, the insecticide named chlorpyrifos has been banned from household use for more than 15 years, but it’s still widely used on crops like broccoli and almonds. Several studies have tied the chemical—a product of various companies, including Dow—to attention deficit disorders, lowered IQ, other health issues, and negative impacts on fetuses, including brain damage. Dow claims it’s safe when used as directed. But the EPA had planned to ban the chemical last November. The Trump regime wedged a stopper into that move.

Twice during the Obama Administration, the EPA had proposed to revoke all food tolerances for chlorpyrifos. At the time the agency said exposure to chlorpyrifos from food and drinking

poses health risks, specifically citing neurotoxicity concerns. In late November, the EPA said it would ban the chemical. But the decision never became official.

In March, Scott Pruitt, the new EPA-hating EPA chief, announced he was overruling the agency’s own experts and rejecting their call for banning the insecticide. Instead, he said, the agency would engage in further study until 2022 before making a final ruling. His decision rankled environmental advocates, and they and some state attorneys general took legal action. 

A week ago Tuesday, a federal court concluded that the agency could delay its decision on chlorpyrifos until 2022, a date by which Pruitt will probably be in the private sector still screeching nonsense about climate change and lobbying for some industry the EPA is supposed to be regulating. Like pesticide makers.

The Udall bill—the “Protect Children, Farmers and Farmworkers from Nerve Agent Pesticides Act of 2017”—requires Pruitt to join with the National Research Council to assess neurodevelopmental effects that chlorpyrifos and other organophosphate pesticides have on farmworkers and children.

“Congress must act because Administrator Pruitt has shown that he won’t,” Udall said in a statement.

Yes, senator, what else can we expect? Kids at risk? No big deal as long as they aren’t Pruitt’s kin.

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