The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Erin Fitzgerald, 

Over 100 Organizations Urge Biden to Ban Chlorpyrifos

Advocates say the proven brain-harming pesticide has no place on food (or anywhere else)


Today, over 100 farmworker, public health, and environmental organizations led by Earthjustice submitted a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) urging the Biden administration to ban chlorpyrifos. In December, Trump's EPA proposed that 11 food uses of the neurotoxic pesticide continue, prolonging harmful exposure to children, farmworkers, and endangered species.

On his first day in office, President Biden signed an executive order directing EPA to review the Trump administration decision to deny a 2007 petition to ban chlorpyrifos on food. But advocates say the harms of this pesticide have been documented for decades, therefore chlorpyrifos must be banned from food uses immediately. Chlorpyrifos is used on many different types of crops besides food, so farm workers will continue to face additional exposure. We are asking the EPA to act quickly and cancel all non-food uses, as well.

Chlorpyrifos, which belongs to a class of nerve-agent pesticides called organophosphates, is acutely toxic and associated with neurodevelopmental harms in children, according to multiple studies. Chlorpyrifos is a widely used pesticide. It is sprayed on numerous crops, including apples, cherries, peaches, citrus and wheat. Prenatal exposures to chlorpyrifos are linked to lower birth weight, reduced IQ, loss of working memory, attention disorders, and delayed motor development. It is also unsafe for workers even with the most protective equipment.

The following statement is from Daniel Savery, Earthjustice's senior legislative representative for the Healthy Communities program:

"After a thorough analysis of scientific evidence showing harmful impacts, EPA first proposed a ban on chlorpyrifos in 2015. Six years later, we are still fighting for the pesticide to be cancelled. It is time for the Biden administration to demonstrate its commitment to science, children, and farmworkers and finish the job. Under Trump, one of Scott Pruitt's first actions as EPA administrator was to deny a petition to ban chlorpyrifos. When Michael Regan is confirmed, one of his first actions should be to grant the petition and ban this toxic pesticide immediately."

The EPA is currently accepting public comments as part of their review of the registration of chlorpyrifos, which is required every 15 years by law. Earthjustice submitted technical comments to the EPA on behalf of a dozen farmworker, public health, and environmental organizations. The comment period for the proposal ends March 7th.

See the full letter and list of organizations.

Earthjustice is a non-profit public interest law firm dedicated to protecting the magnificent places, natural resources, and wildlife of this earth, and to defending the right of all people to a healthy environment. We bring about far-reaching change by enforcing and strengthening environmental laws on behalf of hundreds of organizations, coalitions and communities.