On August 9, 2018, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ordered the EPA to remove a widely used pesticide on food crops from sale in the United States within 60 days. The Court ruled EPA endangered public health by keeping chlorpyrifos on the market despite scientific evidence which indicated that even tiny levels of exposure are linked to learning disabilities in children.
In 2017, a coalition of farmworkers and environmental groups sued the EPA after it reversed a 2015 ban on the use of chlorpyrifos. This pesticide is typically sprayed on citrus fruit, apples, nuts, broccoli and other food crops including cereal crops and alfalfa (totaling 50+). It came from another one of the chemicals developed by Nazi Germany to be used as a nerve gas.
Since the 1960s, Dow Chemical is one of the leading manufacturers of this pesticide. It sells about 5 million pounds in the USA each year for agricultural use. It is a broad-spectrum pesticide which means it kills a wide variety of insects. It was dropped from residential and indoor use in 2000. In 2012, the EPA ordered “no-spray” buffer zones around sensitive sites, such as schools.
Although chlorpyrifos has now again been banned from use on our foods, it can still be used in public places like golf courses. Note: it does not have to be ingested to have toxic effects.
A 2012 study by the University of California at Berkeley found 87 percent of umbilical-cord blood samples tested from newborn babies contained detectable levels of the pesticide. Another study by Columbia University looked at the health effects on children when it was used as a pesticide in apartment buildings in the City of New York. Exposure to chlorpyrifos during pregnancy resulted in babies born with lower birth weight and reduced IQ. Other studies have been conducted in Canada and China with similar results showing chlorphyrifos impacts the development of children.