U.S. PIRG Tells EPA: Chlorpyrifos is Deadly and Must Be Banned


Washington, DC — U.S. PIRG joined a coalition of seven states and community, farmworker and environmental health groups in demanding Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt ban the use of the brain-harming pesticide chlorpyrifos.

“If the Trump Administration won’t follow the law — and put our children’s well-being first — we will fight back,” said New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.

In official response to Pruitt’s order, seven states — New York, Washington, California, Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland and Vermont — urged EPA to avoid further delay and ban the neurotoxicant. In their conclusion, the states note, “EPA’s order is unlawful and conflicts with two notices of proposed rulemaking stating that the agency could not find the tolerances safe.” 

In addition, U.S. PIRG, along with a half-dozen organizations submitted over 145,000 public comments by yesterday’s deadline, signaling widespread outrage over Administrator Pruitt’s decision in March to reverse the planned withdrawal of the widely-used insecticide.

“This chemical harms children, babies, and fetuses. We know that, but the EPA and chemical companies continue to put it on our food. This is shocking and irresponsible,” said U.S. PIRG Toxics Director, Kara Cook-Schultz. “Our children should come before Dow Chemical’s profit margins.

Even at low levels of exposure, chlorpyrifos has been shown to harm human health, and is known to be particularly damaging to children’s developing brains. Pruitt’s controversial decision to keep this chemical on the market ignores a clear body of science, including the findings and recommendations of his agency’s own scientists.

EPA was poised to withdraw chlorpyrifos from agricultural use in the face of mounting evidence that exposure in the womb and early childhood can derail brain development, leading to developmental delays, lowered IQ and increased risk of ADHD and autism. EPA already banned chlorpyrifos for indoor use in 2001.

Chlorpyrifos is used on a wide variety of crops, including row crops like corn and soy and many fruits and vegetables. In May, dozens of farmworkers fell ill and were evacuated from a central California cabbage field when chlorpyrifos and other pesticides drifted from a nearby orchard. 


U.S. PIRG is a consumer group that stands up to powerful interests whenever they threaten our health and safety, our financial security, or our right to fully participate in our democratic society.