'Huge Victory:' Court Orders EPA to Ban Popular Pesticide

Scott Pruitt overruled his agency's own scientists in allowing use of chlorpyrifos
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 9, 2018 1:20 PM CDT
The pesticide has been widely used to protect apples and other crops.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(Newser) – A federal appeals court says the Trump administration endangered public health by keeping the top-selling pesticide chlorpyrifos on the market despite extensive scientific evidence that even tiny levels of exposure can harm babies' brains. The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to remove chlorpyrifos from sale in the United States within 60 days, per the AP. A coalition of farmworkers and environmental groups sued last year after then-EPA chief Scott Pruitt reversed an Obama-era effort to ban chlorpyrifos, which is widely sprayed on citrus fruits, apples, and other crops.

The California Farm Bureau Federation estimates it is used on 1.3 million acres of farmland in the state and calls it an invaluable tool to protect crops, reports the Sacramento Bee. In a split decision, the court said EPA violated federal law by ignoring the conclusions of agency scientists that chlorpyrifos is harmful. The pesticide is sold by Dow Agro Sciences and others. “This is a huge victory,” an attorney with the environmental law firm Earthjustice tells the Bee. “The court said, ‘EPA, you have to follow the science ... and follow the law.’”

(Read more pesticides stories.)

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