EPA and the Ban on Chlorpyrifos
It seems like the Trump administration is eager on undoing every policy put in place by the Obama administration, in this case, for the worse. The Environmental Protection Agency, now led by Scott Pruitt, has refused to ban a pesticide, commonly used, that the Obama administration had sought to ban, based on its health hazards. Chlorpyrifos, a pesticide whose brand name is Lorsban, has been in use as a pesticide by farmers for more than five decades. It’s used on crops including broccoli, citrus and strawberries. The chemical was already banned as a bug spray for dommestic use, but recently, EPA seeked to ban it for agricultural use, citing scientific evidence that the chemical, on prenatal exposure, can affect fetal brain and nervous system development. Pruitt says that retaining Lorsban as a pesticide is important for the agricultural industry, and is a step towards using ‘sound science’ to make policy decisions. Sheryl Kunickis, a director at the Department of Agriculture, agrees, saying that continuing Lorsban would ensure ‘ abundant and affordable’ food supply for America and other nations. The chemical industry also pushed hard against a ban on Chlorpyrifos. Dow AgriSciences, the manufacturer of this pesticide, claims that the study on its product ‘lacks scientific rigor’, that if the chemical is used as directed, is safe for health. But dozens of scientists, doctors and public health professionals are pushing the EPA to ban chlorpyrifos. They say that every year of delay in banning Lorsban puts more children at increased risk of developmental problems in learning, social skills, motor function etc. Hopefully an unbiased scientific reassessment based on facts will be made, and an administration that denies climate change will stop politicizing science, and make more rational decisions for the sake of the public good.