EPA Head Ignores Science, Doesn't Ban Dangerous Insecticide


It's been banned from household use for more than a decade, but it's still used by farmers on citrus trees, strawberries, broccoli, and cauliflower. The Act would restrict the science considered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) when developing new regulations, to only research that is publicly available.

In a statement March 31, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said the agency wants "to prevent regulation created for the sake of regulation by the previous administration".

While the study was going on, the ban on indoor uses of chlorpyrifos came into effect.

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In his letter in response to the action, Carper called Pruitt's ruling troubling, stating "clear and compelling scientific and legal basis for reversing the decision is absent from the materials EPA released yesterday".

"EPA's refusal to ban this unsafe pesticide is unconscionable", said Patti Goldman, an attorney at Earthjustice.

According to a proposed rule scheduled for publication in the Federal Register April 3, the Environmental Protection Agency will consider delaying the effective date of a final rule amending risk management program regulations (RIN:2050-AG82) to February 19, 2019. Traces have been found in waterways, threatening fish, and experts say overuse could make targeted insects immune to the pesticide. The agency was relying on scientific studies that directly measured the immediate effect of chlorpyrifos on the nervous system. But in California's Central Valley, some 90 percent of almond orchards still use the pesticide, as do thousands of farms nationwide, reports CBS News correspondent John Blackstone. In 2012, EPA officials mandated that farmers maintain no-spray buffer zones near public spaces. That order had been prompted by petitions from environmental groups, including Earthjustice, to ban chlorpyrifos. But when those exposures are combined with estimated exposure from drinking water in certain watersheds, "EPA can not conclude that the risk from aggregate exposure meets the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act safety standard", it said. The move stemmed from a 2007 petition filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Pesticide Action Network North America.

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"I am troubled by EPA's apparent dismissal of the extensive analysis undertaken previously by EPA scientists", he said.

"The public record lays out serious scientific concerns and substantive process gaps in the proposal", the agency said.

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That includes the Clean Power Plan, which restricts greenhouse gas emissions at coal-fired power plants. Supreme Court has interpreted to require regulation of greenhouse gases, will remain in effect.

According to the National Pesticide Information Center, chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate insecticide used to control many different kinds of pests, including termites, mosquitoes and roundworms.