WASHINGTON - After more than a decade of debate and public comments, the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rejected a ban on a common pesticide called chlorpyrifos.
In January, KAPP-KVEW Local News conducted a special investigative report (click here to watch the video) about the chemical, which is used to stop pests in many Eastern Washington fruit and vegetable crops.
For some farmers, it is the first line of defense against invasive insects that destroy food consumers find at the grocery store.
However, many scientists and environmental groups point to chlorpyrifos as a possible link to birth defects and other illnesses, especially among farm workers.
Officials banned household use of the chemical in 2000 for this reason, and a court order mandated EPA review calls to ban chlorpyrifos altogether.
In October 2015, the Obama administration proposed revoking the pesticide's use in response to a petition from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Pesticide Action Network North America.
The Associated Press reported that President Donald Trump's appointed EPA administrator Scott Pruitt rejected this proposed ban Wednesday.
"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," Pruitt said.
The NRDC said in a statement the fight is not over:
“The Trump administration is putting the needs of chemical corporations before children’s health. Parents shouldn’t have to worry that a dangerous chemical might be lurking in the fruits and veggies they feed their kids. We will hold EPA accountable to protecting the American people from industries that can do us grave harm. The health of our children depends on it.”
The Dow Chemical company that sells chlorpyrifos also issued a statement praising the EPA's decision:
"Dow AgroSciences remains confident that authorized uses of chlorpyrifos products offer wide margins of protection for human health and safety."
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