Environmental Groups Seek Ban of Common Pesticide Chlorpyrifos

Feb 4, 2013

Three environmental groups will make the case in court Monday that the Environmental Protection Agency has failed to act on their petition to the agency to ban a common pesticide, chlorpyrifos.  

An apple orchard east of the Washington Cascades. The EPA banned home use of chlorpyrifos in 2001 because it can harm the nervous system. But it’s still commonly used on crops like wheat, alfalfa and apples in the Northwest.
Credit Flickr/agit-prop

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will be in Seattle to hear oral arguments in the case. The EPA banned home use of chlorpyrifos in 2001 because it can harm the nervous system. But it’s still commonly used on crops like wheat, alfalfa and apples in Oregon’s Willamette Valley and in Eastern Washington.

 

In the Northwest, the EPA has moved to limit the application of the pesticide near streams because it can harm salmon. The Natural Resource Defense Council, Pesticide Action Network North America, and EarthJustice petitioned the agency for an outright ban of Chlorpyrifos in 2007.

“New evidence that this pesticide is being found in children, that it is drifting from where it is applied to places where children are going to school or playing, and its in the environment in ways that are causing harm,” said Patti Goldman, a top lawyer with Earthjustice.

EPA spokesman Mark MacIntyre says the agency does not comment on pending litigation. However, the agency sent a letter to the groups in January noting it had put in place new restrictions to limit spray drift of the pesticide, and later this month plans to release an assessment of the risk posed when the solid form of Chlorpyrifos becomes a gas.