Federal Court Reverses EPA Relaxing Ban On Chlorpyrifos, Gives Agency 60 Days To Reinstitute Ban

9th Circuit Reverses Trump Administration Relaxation of pesticide chlorpyrifos on food.

9th Circuit Reverses Trump Administration Relaxation of pesticide chlorpyrifos on food.

The ninth circuit federal court on Thursday ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to ban chlorpyrifos, a pesticide widely linked to brain damage in kids. The court ruled in a 2-to-1 decision that the EPA offered “no defense” of its decision to delay a ban on chlorpyrifos ― a move the court said violated the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. The law governs pesticides, mandating that the EPA ban chemicals from being used on food, if scientific evidence establishes that they cause harm. 

The agency has 60 days to finalize a ban initiated by the Obama Administration in November 2015.

The Trump administration's then head of the EPA Scott Pruitt reversed the ban on chlorpyrifos in March 2017, almost immediately after taking the office and with little explanation. 

Critics were furious with Pruitt and Trump for putting DOW Chemical profits ahead of the health of Americans. In a joint letter to Pruitt in June, the American Academy of Pediatrics and Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit advocacy group, said they were “deeply alarmed” by his decision. 

“EPA has no basis to allow continued use of chlorpyrifos, and its insistence in doing so puts all children at risk,” they wrote. 

The decision to relax rules around pesticides came at a time when Ivanka Trump was promoting feeding children organic food not contaminated by pesticides. Her silence on the proposed reversal of a chlorpyrifos ban was one of the earliest examples of Ivanka saying she stands for women and children, but then takes little positive action to help them, if it means disagreeing with her father. 

All concerned bloggers and activists noted at the time that now-retired Dow CEO Andrew Liveris was then the head of President Trump's new American Manufacturing Council. Oh, and he also donated $1 million to Trump's inauguration.

Dow celebrated Pruitt's actions on reversing the ban on chlorpyrifos and activists went to court. The Council headed by Dow's Liveris was disbanded after multiple CEOs refused to serve any longer after Trump equivocated in his remarks about white-nationalist violence in Charlottesville, one year ago this weekend. 

The absurdity of Ivanka Trump's silence at the time of the EPA actions contrasted with the advice given by her health coach on IvankaTrump.com:

“The average conventional apple is sprayed with over 45 different chemicals, including six that are known or suspected carcinogens, 16 suspected hormone disruptors, five neurotoxins (a.k.a brain cell killers), and six developmental or reproductive toxins… It is definitely worth the premium price tag.”

More than 24 studies have found "chlorpyrifos to be  a neurotoxin that very likely affects the development of children’s brains, most particularly if the exposure is prenatal." The pesticide was banned in residential use 17 years ago but continued to be used in agriculture.

A 2014 California study reported in Scientific American that: "When women in the second trimester lived near fields treated with chlorpyrifos – the most commonly applied organophosphate pesticide – their children were 3.3 times more likely to have autism, according to the study."