WASHINGTON – Despite a federal court order to ban a pesticide that damages children’s brains, the Trump administration is stubbornly fighting to keep it legal – further evidence that the administration places the interests of the chemical and agribusiness industries above children’s health.
On Monday the Justice Department filed a motion asking the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to throw out an Aug. 9 ruling that ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to ban the use of chlorpyrifos on food crops.
The Ninth Circuit’s ruling nullified the decision last year by then-EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to cancel a proposed ban on chlorpyrifos, which the agency’s scientists say can harm children’s brains and nervous systems even in small doses. Pruitt’s reversal of the proposed ban came a few weeks after he met with the CEO of Dow Chemical Company, the world’s largest manufacturer of chlorpyrifos, according to The Associated Press.
In the Ninth Circuit’s Aug. 9 opinion, District Judge Jed Rakoff blasted Pruitt’s reversal, writing: “There was no justification for the EPA’s decision . . . in the face of scientific evidence that [chloropyrifos’] residue on food causes neurodevelopmental damage to children.” He said the agency’s “continued failure to respond to the pressing health concerns presented by chlorpyrifos” put EPA “in direct contravention” of federal laws regulating food and pesticides.
“No one should be surprised that President Trump and his EPA are still fighting efforts to protect children and farmworkers from this dangerous pesticide,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “Cancelling the scheduled ban of chlorpyrifos was one of the president’s very first gifts to the chemical industry and Big Ag interests that helped put him in office.”
“Now, even after the Ninth Circuit strongly rebuked that special favor for special interests, the administration won’t do the right thing to protect kids,” Cook added. “It’s time for the EPA to accept the science, accept the court’s ruling, and ban chlorpyrifos for good.”