The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Lori Ann Burd, (971) 717-6405,

Sen. Udall Bill Would Ban Brain-damaging Chlorpyrifos

Bill Reverses Trump EPA Approval of Dangerous Pesticide's Ongoing Use


Last November the EPA announced a plan to ban use of the pesticide, which has been banned for indoor use for more than 15 years. But in late March EPA chief Scott Pruitt announced he was reversing course and would allow ongoing use of the pesticide.

"In addition to permanently slowing brain development in children, the EPA has found that chlorpyrifos hurts 97 percent of endangered species," said Lori Ann Burd, director of the Center for Biological Diversity's environmental health program. "Scott Pruitt's appalling decision to reverse the ban of this dangerous pesticide was nothing but a bow to Dow. We applaud Senator Udall's efforts to ban this dangerous pesticide."

Around 5 million pounds of chlorpyrifos are used in the United States every year on crops like corn, peanuts, plums and wheat. A recent study at the University of California at Berkeley found that 87 percent of umbilical-cord blood samples tested had detectable levels of chlorpyrifos. Numerous studies have linked it to severe harm to children.

In the weeks following Pruitt's reversal of the chlorpyrifos ban, Dow Chemical reached out to the EPA and expert wildlife agencies urging them to abandon a legally mandated effort to assess the impacts of chlorpyrifos on endangered species and indefinitely delay implementing common sense measures to protect them.

Dow's back-channel campaign to get the agency to abandon a robust and nearly four-year effort to protect endangered species from these pesticides is revealed in letters in which Dow urges the Trump administration and Pruitt to withdraw "biological evaluations" finalized in January. Those evaluations, which included opportunities for Dow to weigh in, detail how three highly toxic organophosphate insecticides -- chlorpyrifos, malathion and diazinon -- harm nearly all 1,800 threatened and endangered animals and plants.

To date expert agencies have missed deadlines for finalizing the evaluations and EPA staffers have confirmed that they are indeed considering Dow's request.

Over the past six years, Dow has donated $11 million to congressional campaigns and political action committees and spent an additional $75 million lobbying Congress. In Dow was one of three companies that donated $1 million to the Trump inauguration.

At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature — to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters and climate that species need to survive.

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