Politics of Pesticides: The EPA and Chlorpyrifos

Last week, the EPA announced measures to ban the use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos in food production. Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate pesticide commonly used on crops and animals to kill insects and worms, however, studies have linked it to neurological damage in children. The document below highlights the administrative conflict surrounding the use of chlorpyrifos in US agricultural practices.


In a letter from May 2017 by the Administrator of the EPA under the Trump Administration, Scott Pruitt writes:

"I appreciate your views on the EPA's decision to deny a petition to ban the use of chlorpyrifos, a pesticide crucial to U.S. agriculture…Instead of using a petition process, the EPA has decided to continue to evaluate the chemical according to the routine reviews of all pesticides required under FIFRA.”

Despite growing evidence regarding the negative health effects of the pesticide, the EPA denied the petition process to ban the use of chlorpyrifos and continued to allow the use of chlorpyrifos while conducting further studies. After years of health and labor organizations petitioning to ban chlorpyrifos, the EPA has fulfilled this request under the Biden Administration.

Check out the document here to learn more about the history behind the EPA's stance on chlorpyrifos.