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US: Court orders EPA to ban farm pesticide chlorpyrifos

Image result for chlorpyrifos potatoesA federal court on Thursday ordered the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ban a pesticide used widely in farming. DowDuPont, who introduced the pesticide in 1965, remains a leading manufacturer of chlorpyrifos. The 2-1 ruling on a lawsuit brought by public health groups and state attorneys general ordered the agency “to revoke all tolerances and cancel all registrations for chlorpyrifos within 60 days.” Concerns that the insecticide can harm the brain and nervous system led to the EPA banning the household use of chlorpyrifos in 2000. But the agency had allowed the chemical to continue to be used in commercial agriculture. The EPA and the courts have considered an outright ban on the chemical since 2007, and in August 2015, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the EPA to make a decision. 

The Trump administration-led EPA made that decision in April 2017, when it ruled that a broader ban on the chemical was not warranted, citing “uncertainty” in the science linking chlorpyrifos to “neurodevelopmental effects.” Thursday’s ruling, also by the 9th Circuit, overturns that decision. Read more