Monday, September 18, 2017

Tell the Senate: Ban this extremely toxic brain-harming pesticide

The petition to the Senate reads:
"Chlorpyrifos, the toxic insecticide that damages the developing brains of children and infants, has been banned for home use since 2001, yet millions of pounds are still sprayed on crops, threatening farmworkers, rural children and our food supply. Pass the 'Protect Children, Farmers and Farmworkers from Nerve Agent Pesticides Act' to ban the use of chlorpyrifos in food."
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Despite overwhelming scientific evidence, climate-denier Scott Pruitt and his polluter-friendly Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) refused earlier this year to ban chlorpyrifos – the extremely toxic pesticide linked to a whole host of debilitating neurological disorders, long-term damage to children's brains and even cancer.
Chlorpyrifos is so dangerous that the EPA banned the toxin for home use nearly two decades ago, yet Big Ag still sprays nearly 10 million pounds of the chemical on crops across the country, which poses a major health risk to farmworkers — many of whom are immigrants — and children in rural communities.
Since the EPA would rather give handouts to the chemical industry than protect consumers, farmworkers and children, a group of Democratic senators have introduced the "Protect Children, Farmers and Farmworkers from Nerve Agent Pesticides Act" to completely prohibit the use of chlorpyrifos in food. We must demand the Senate act immediately to pass this critical legislation.
Chlorpyrifos is the most widely used insecticide in the world and belongs to the same family as sarin nerve gas.1 People who have been exposed to the chemical have experienced permanent changes in brain structure, loss of IQ, increased likelihood of children developing ADHD or other developmental and behavioral disorders, reduced lung function, asthma, and cancer.2
In 2015, President Obama's EPA proposed banning chlorpyrifos for all agricultural use, but earlier this year, Donald Trump's anti-science, pro-industry EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, well-known for denying climate change, reversed that decision, claiming the science behind the chemical's toxic effects were inconclusive.3 Media reports at the time suggest Dow Chemical, the major manufacturer of chlorpyrifos, played a significant role influencing Pruitt's decision.4
Activism to force lawmakers to more strictly regulate chlorpyrifos is working – but we can't stop now. This summer, CREDO, along with our allies at the Pesticide Action Network, Friends of the Earth and other organizations, delivered more than 167,000 petition signatures urging California Gov. Jerry Brown to ban this pesticide. In response, California regulators are drafting new rules for chlorpyrifos use.5
That's why we must now call on the Senate to pass this bill to protect the developing brains of small children, the health and safety of farmers and farmworkers, and our food supply from this dangerous and extremely toxic pesticide immediately.
- Josh Nelson, Deputy Political Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets
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  1. Zoë Schlanger, "The US government is ignoring its own scientists’ warning that a Dow pesticide causes brain damage in children," Quartz, March 30, 2017.
  2. Pesticide Action Network, "Chlorpyrifos," accessed Aug. 29, 2017.
  3. Eric Lipton, "E.P.A. Chief, Rejecting Agency’s Science, Chooses Not to Ban Insecticide," The New York Times, March 29, 2017.
  4. Lorraine Chow, "EPA Chief Met With Dow Chemical CEO Before Deciding Not to Ban Toxic Pesticide," EcoWatch, June 28, 2017.
  5. The Associated Press, "California tightens rules on popular pesticide for farmers," Aug. 18, 2017.

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