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EPA bans chlorpyrifos use in food, to consider non-agricultural ban

August 19, 2021  - By

Following years of debate and lawsuits, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is banning all chlorpyrifos pesticide use for food, although the chemical will still be allowed on golf courses and other non-edible applications — for now.

“EPA is taking an overdue step to protect public health,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Ending the use of chlorpyrifos on food will help to ensure children, farmworkers and all people are protected from the potentially dangerous consequences of this pesticide.”

Environmentalists and public health advocates have been urging the EPA to band chlorpyrifos since 2007, citing evidence of neurological damage, especially in children.

The initial petition called for the EPA to revoke acceptable tolerance limits for the chemical in food, effectively banning its use. Agency reviews in 2014 and 2016 led the EPA to recommend revoking tolerances, but the Trump administration rejected those calls in 2017 and 2019.

Earlier this year, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the EPA to ban the substance for food use, citing the regulatory group’s own research.

While the EPA’s ban on chlorpyrifos only applies to food crops now, the agency said it will review non-food uses for the pesticide, including taking public comments.

Some golf courses use the pesticide to control annual bluegrass weevil (ABW), fire ants and similar pests.

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