EPA Won't Ban Pesticide Linked to Harm in Children

July 19, 2019 -- Even though the pesticide chlorpyrifos has been linked to brain harm in children, it will not be banned in the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday.The agency said data highlighting health concerns about the pesticide was "not sufficiently valid, complete or reliable," and added that it would continue to monitor the safety of chlorpyrifos through 2022, The New York Times reported.

In 2015, the Obama administration said it would ban chlorpyrifos after EPA studies showed that the pesticide could damage brain development in children. That ban was reversed by the Trump administration in 2017, which triggered legal challenges.

In April, a federal appeals court gave the EPA a July deadline to issue a final ruling on whether to ban chlorpyrifos, The Times reported.

One of the groups that challenged the 2017 Trump administration decision on chlorpyrifos was Earthjustice, which acted on behalf of farmworker organizations and others.

"By allowing chlorpyrifos to stay in our fruits and vegetables, Trump's EPA is breaking the law and neglecting the overwhelming scientific evidence that this pesticide harms children's brains," Patti Goldman, a lawyer for Earthjustice, said in a statement.

She said the groups would continue their legal challenge, The Times reported.

Hawaii banned chlorpyrifos in 2018, and California and New York are considering similar measures. Consumers and environmental groups are urging the European Commission to ban the pesticide.

In the United States, the chemical industry and farmers have lobbied to continue using chlorpyrifos, saying it's needed to protect crops, The Times reported.