The US government has rejected a proposed ban on a toxic pesticide linked to brain damage in children, dismissing a growing body of research on the health hazards of a widely used agricultural chemical.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced in a ruling on Thursday that it supported farmers’ continued use of chlorpyrifos, a pesticide that growers have long sprayed on almonds, citrus, cotton, grapes, walnuts and other major crops in America. The decision, outlined in a response to a petition from environmental and public health groups, said “critical questions remained regarding the significance of the data” on neurological impacts on children.
The Trump administration’s endorsement of the pesticide comes years after the EPA under Obama moved to restrict use of the chemical, as scientists raised alarms. Trump’s EPA denied the conclusions of the agency’s own experts, and earlier this year, California defied the White House and announced its own state-level ban on the chemical.
“By allowing chlorpyrifos to stay in our fruits and vegetables, Trump’s EPA is breaking the law and neglecting the overwhelming scientific evidence that this pesticide harms children’s brains,” Patti Goldman, an attorney with Earthjustice, said in a statement, adding it was a “tragedy that this administration sides with corporations instead of children’s health”.