This brain-damaging pesticide was banned in 2021. Now, it’s coming back.

Chlorpyrifos could be used on our food in the 2024 growing season — unless we convince the EPA to reinstate the ban.


Tractor spraying pesticides on vegetable field with sprayer at spring
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The pesticides sprayed on our farms threaten the health of our ecosystems and communities.

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A pesticide that damages kids’ brains is back on the menu for the 2024 growing season.

It’s called chlorpyrifos, and it’s so dangerous that we helped convince the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ban it two years ago. But a court just overturned that ban, meaning this toxic chemical may end up back on the food our families eat soon.

But it’s not too late to protect kids from this toxic pesticide. The EPA still has the authority to make the final decision on whether the total ban on chlorpyrifos should be reinstated. That’s why we’re calling on the agency to ban this brain-damaging pesticide.

The pesticide chlorpyrifos is too dangerous to use

The court decided that the EPA was too quick to confirm that chlorpyrifos is dangerous, and has ordered the agency to reevaluate whether any use of the chemical could be considered safe. But the ban was far from a hasty decision. The science has been clear for decades.

By 2015, years of EPA research had already culminated in a verdict that chlorpyrifos is unsafe on food. It’s been linked to neurological damage and developmental problems in children. 

It’s simple: This stuff is just too dangerous to allow it anywhere near the food we eat.

Chlorpyrifos is so risky that it was banned for household use decades ago, but it was still sprayed by farmers on citrus trees, apple orchards, strawberries, broccoli, cauliflower, and much more.

When chlorpyrifos is sprayed on crops, traces of the toxic pesticide wind up in the grocery store, and ultimately in the meals our families eat. When the EPA investigated chlorpyrifos exposure in U.S. kids, the agency discovered that children can ingest up to 140 times the safety limit in their lifetimes.

We can’t let this pesticide be used on the food we eat

Kids exposed to chlorpyrifos are at risk of serious harm. The chemical has been linked to neurological damage and developmental problems.

That’s why it’s so important that we convince the EPA to stick to the science and reaffirm that all uses of this brain-damaging chemical should be banned.

We’ve won on this issue before, so we know we can win again. When PIRG and our national network mobilized to gather more than 27,000 petition signatures to the EPA urging the agency to ban chlorpyrifos in 2021, the agency listened.

But right now, we need to act fast. The 2024 growing season is coming up quickly, so the sooner the EPA can reinstate its ban on chlorpyrifos, the less likely it is that this hazardous chemical will be used on the food we eat next year.

The EPA still has the authority to make the final decision on whether the total ban on chlorpyrifos should be reinstated. We just need to make sure the agency does the right thing.

Add your name to our petition to tell the EPA to ban this brain-damaging pesticide.


Danielle Melgar

Food & Agriculture, Advocate, PIRG

Danielle works to ensure our food system produces enough nutritious food to feed everyone, without threatening our health, the planet, or the ability of future generations to grow food. Danielle lives in Chicago, where she enjoys staying active in the outdoors, trying out new recipes, and writing short stories.

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