Toxic Pesticide (Finally) Banned from U.S. Food Supply

Following a long 14-year effort by environmental and health advocates, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finally (in response to a ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit), banned the use of the toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos on food crops.  The new rule will take effect in six months.

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Why it is important to ban the toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos from our food supply and general environment

Results from scientific studies reveal that even low to moderate levels of exposure to the insecticide chlorpyrifos during pregnancy may lead to long-term, potentially irreversible changes in the brain structure of the child and cognitive deficits/reduction in IQ levels.  Additionally, exposure to chlorpyrifos is associated with a number of health risks, including autism, memory problems, endocrine disruption, suffocation, and adverse impacts on fetal and childhood development such as problems with motor skills, associated with prenatal exposure.

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U.S. approves the use of numerous toxic pesticides on our food that are banned in other countries

Each year, the US uses more than one billion pounds of pesticides, nearly one-fifth of worldwide use. In 2017 and 2018, the EPA approved more than 100 pesticides containing ingredients widely considered to be dangerous. Some of these are considered possible or probable carcinogens by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer. And many are banned in other countries as a result.

US agriculture uses 72 pesticides banned or being phased out in the European Union, 17 pesticides banned in Brazil, and 11 banned in China. These differences underscore how the US approach to pesticide regulation is out of sync with pesticide regulation globally.

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Lawsuits warn newly banned pesticide might linger for years in homes

Lawsuits filed in recent months allege that the harmful effects of a pesticide linked to developmental issues in children could last well beyond the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new ban on the chemical.

The four lawsuits, filed on behalf of parents who say their children were hurt by the chemical known as chlorpyrifos, assert that traces of the chemical were found in their homes even after reductions in use of the substance, suggesting it might linger for years.

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Commonly-used pesticide linked to the global obesity epidemic

A commonly-used pesticide could be partially responsible for the global obesity epidemic, says a study led by McMaster University scientists.

Researchers discovered that chlorpyrifos, which is banned for use on foods in Canada but widely sprayed on fruits and vegetables in many other parts of the world, slows down the burning of calories in the brown adipose tissue of mice. Reducing this burning of calories, a process known as diet-induced thermogenesis, causes the body to store these extra calories, promoting obesity.


Eric