EPA Refuses To Ban A Neurotoxin To Which We Have All Been Exposed (Video)

Do you ever get the feeling the Trump administration deliberately contravenes whatever makes the most logical sense?

“Bad for the environment? Let’s do it!”

“Blatantly violates basic civil rights? Of course!”

“Incites violence? What could possibly go wrong?”

“Detrimental to public health? Why not?”

It should come as no surprise, then, that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has decided not to ban a neurotoxic pesticide its own scientists concluded is known to cause pediatric brain damage.

Banned for household use, chlorpyrifos, sold under its commercial sobriquet Lorsban, is still being sprayed on more than 50 fruit, nuts, cereal and vegetable crops despite EPA  research revealing its deleterious health effects.

The Obama administration intended to ban the chemical back in 2015, but that ban never occurred.

Once former EPA head Scott Pruitt came to the agency in 2017, however, the proposed ban disappeared altogether.

Chlorpyrifos is a pesticide the Nazis developed during World War II as a nerve agent and began being used as a pesticide after the war. By inhibiting the body’s ability to produce cholinesterase, an enzyme necessary for nerve impulse transmission, it has been known toward those who come into contact with it to cause nausea, vomiting, headaches, dizziness, seizures, paralysis, and even death.

Patti Goldman, managing attorney with Earthjustice, who represented health and labor advocates in a lawsuit against the EPA’s decision to suspend the ban in 2017, said in an interview with Democracy Now!:

“What we’ve learned over the last 15-plus years is that it [chlorpyrifos] also causes learning disabilities in children at even lower doses. So we’re talking about reduced IQ, autism, attention deficit disorder—every parent’s fears. And it causes that harm at extremely low doses. So, scientists have found this in numerous studies, including Columbia University, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Berkeley.”

She added:

“And EPA has found, based on all of those studies and animal studies, that this pesticide causes brain damage to children, permanent brain damage. But it refuses to ban the pesticide. Instead, it wants to put it off and keep this pesticide on the market, on our food, in children’s bodies, until 2022, an artificial deadline for it to adjust all of the older pesticides.”

According to an Environmental Working Group press release:

“Pruitt and his top political appointees relied solely on comments by Sheryl Kunickis, director of the Office of Pest Management Policy at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to arrive at the decision not to ban the pesticide.”

Environmental Working Group vice president for communications, Alex Formuzis, added:

“USDA and the agro-chemical industry should not be the groups that get to decide the fate of a highly toxic pesticide that can harm kids’ brains and put farmworkers and their families at risk.”

Chances are we have all been exposed to chlorpyrifos since it has been used on Brussels sprouts, almonds, walnuts, apples, and oranges.

There is no safe exposure level to it.

In fact, children between ages one and two are the most exposed–140 times the level the EPA deems “safe.”

It contaminates drinking water, drifts to schools, homes, and fields in toxic amounts over 300 feet from fields in which it has been applied.

Farmworkers confront extreme exposure risk.

If chlorpyrifos‘ effects have been known for so long, and the previous administration was all set to ban it, what would motivate the current administration to continue exposing millions of Americans to it?

Like with everything else that fuels the Trump administration, follow the money.

Dow Agrosciences, a division of Dow Chemical, manufactures chlorpyrifos.

Dow Chemical donated $1 million to Trump’s inauguration.

So much for “draining the swamp.”

Image credit: www.flickr.com

Ted Millar is writer and teacher. His work has been featured in myriad literary journals, including Better Than Starbucks, The Broke Bohemian, Straight Forward Poetry, Caesura, Circle Show, Cactus Heart, Third Wednesday, and The Voices Project. He is also a contributor to The Left Place blog on Substack, and Medium.