"By reversing the previous administration's steps to ban one of the most widely used pesticides in the world, we are returning to using sound science in decision-making rather than predetermined results", said Pruitt. It said it remains confident that authorized uses of chlorpyrifos offers "wide margins of protection for human health and safety".
Fruit and vegetable farmers use this chemical on citrus trees, strawberries, broccoli and cauliflower. They accused Pruitt of putting the interests of big business over people.
Patti Goldman, a Seattle-based Earthjustice attorney who has waged the legal battle in federal court to end the use of chlorpyrifos, called the EPA decision "unconscionable". If the EPA refuses to protect the American people from this hazardous pesticide, we'll take them to court.
Sheryl Kunickis, director of the Office of Pest Management Policy at the Department of Agriculture, agreed with the decision.
"Chlorpyrifos is a specific pesticide".
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Now medical professionals and groups like the United Farm Workers and the Center for Farmworker Families are asking the state to ban the pesticide's use in California. The chemical has been used for years, but was banned in 2000 for use in the home. And a decade ago, the EPA approved that use, saying chlorpyrifos residues on food were not a risk to human health. In 2012, EPA officials mandated that farmers maintain no-spray buffer zones near public spaces.
In 2015, the Obama administration proposed banning chlorpyrifos, but the decision had not been finalized. President Donald Trump's denial of climate change has often been observed as the leading example of this antagonism toward knowledge and academia, but denying the harmfulness of chlorpyrifos will have more immediate consequences - profits for Dow and lifelong damage to children exposed to unsafe levels of the pesticide.
The insecticide in question, chlorpyrifos, was not banned by the EPA this time around, however, despite its measured danger.
"One of the concerns we have as growers about the aggressive manner in which the EPA is pulling chemicals from the market is resistance" pests or plants could develop to remaining pesticides, he said. The October 2015 proposal largely relied on certain epidemiological study outcomes, whose application is novel and uncertain, to reach its conclusions, according to the March 29 EPA statement. "EPA heeded the concerns laid out by stakeholders, state regulators, trading partners and even USDA in the public record". But now the new leadership of the EPA said "reliable data, overwhelming in both quantity and quality, contradicts the reliance" on the earlier studies.
The insecticide was invented by Dow Chemical Company and has been made and sold by many companies under a number of brand names including Dursban, Lorsban, Bolton Insecticide, Nufos, Cobalt, Hatchet, and Warhaw.