The Scary Pesticide the Head of the EPA Won’t Ban

Last year, in response to petitions submitted by the Pesticide Action Network and the NRDC, the EPA approved a ban on the use of of the pesticide chlorpyrifos—and for good reason. The chemical has been linked to startling effects on pregnant women; one study found that exposure to fields sprayed with chlorpyrifos while pregnant was correlated with increased risk of autism, ADHD, and behavioral problems in affected women’s newborn children. The pesticide is built to attack the nervous system of the insects it targets, so it’s also highly toxic to farm workers working with it, causing nausea, headaches, dizziness, muscle cramps, and in extreme cases, paralysis.

With such damning data on the books, it came as a shock to more than just environmentalists when the EPA rescinded the ban late last month. With little hope that new leadership at the EPA will have a change of heart, activists like our friends at the EWG are calling on grocery stores to protect consumers by halting the sale of products sprayed with chlorpyrifos (sign their petition here). In the meantime, it’s also a better time than ever to support farmers and retailers who have switched to USDA-certified organics, which are not allowed to be sprayed with chlorpyrifos or any other pesticides.