The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency just took a huge step toward protecting kids and farmworkers from a toxic pesticide linked to lifelong intellectual disabilities. On August 18, the agency announced that it will ban chlorpyrifos from all food crops. Earthjustice represented health, labor, and learning disability organizations in a successful legal battle to win this much-needed protection. Why is the ban a major victory for public health? Developed by the Nazis for warfare, organophosphate pesticides like chlorpyrifos were repurposed for agriculture. Now chlorpyrifos is widely used and, as the EPA’s own scientific reviews have found, unsafe. Decades of studies have linked in-utero exposure to chlorpyrifos and other organophosphates to reduced IQ, attention disorders, and autism in kids . Chlorpyrifos enters our bodies through the water we drink, the air we breathe, and the food we eat, including fruits and vegetables from cilantro to oranges to raisins. Farmworkers who use the pesticide or simply enter fields where it has been sprayed are particularly at risk. “I didn’t understand just how terrible these toxic chemicals can be until my son, Isaac, was born with a mental disability,” activist and former farmworker Claudia Angulo wrote for Earthjustice in 2018. “I am sure […]


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