WASHINGTON (AP) – The Federal Court of Appeals on Thursday ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to quickly decide whether to ban a pesticide linked to brain damage in children, saying the agency had delayed its action on the widely used bug-killer chlorpyrifos. about 14 years. ,
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ordered the EPA to act within 60 days of a possible ban.
“The EPA has spent more than a decade setting a record for the harmful effects of chlorpyrifos,” wrote U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakov. “However, in order to ban the herbicide or reduce the tolerance that the EPA may find to be unreasonably harmful, the EPA has sought to circumvent its usual statutory obligations through delaying tactics.
Rakoff և U.S. District Judge Jacques Aklin H. Nguyen instructed the EPA to determine or ban the herbicide within 60 days, including for infants and children.
Expressing an alternative, US District Judge Jay S. Bibi said 60 days was too short, “probably predetermining the EPA version” and forcing a ban.
“This is a huge pressure, an obvious abuse of our discretion,” Bibi wrote.
The decision was made after a long struggle against pesticides, which are widely used on oranges, soybeans, almonds and other crops.
Under the Obama administration, the EPA initiated a ban, but the agency overturned that decision shortly after President Donald Trump took office in 2017. The EPA rejected the legal challenge in 2019, saying environmental groups had not proven the ban justified.
A spokesman said Thursday that the EPA was reviewing the court’s decision. President Biden signed an executive order this year to review Trump EPA’s decision to keep chlorpyrifos on the market.
“As the agency pursues the protection of human health, including the health of children and the environment, the EPA is committed to ensuring the safety of pesticides and other chemicals,” said spokesman Nick Konger. “The agency is committed to helping to support, protect farmers and their families while ensuring the safe use of pesticides.”
Environmental groups say the ban on chlorpyrifos has long since expired.
“The court understood correctly. The time for EPA is now over, ”said Patti Goldman, an advocate for Earthjustice, one of the groups that challenged the Trump-era decision in Paris.
“The EPA must now reverse the law by banning chlorpyrifos from protecting children and pesticides from farmers, which we know is associated with a lot of developmental damage,” Goldman said in a statement. “It would be unwise for the EPA to expose children to this herb for longer.”
Enn Jennifer Sass, a senior fellow at the Natural Resources Council, another group involved in the lawsuit, said the Court of Appeals “ruled in favor of science, which clearly showed that chlorpyrifos is too dangerous to be used to grow our food.”
The verdict ությունը The EPA action, which is expected in late June, “will ensure that children can eat fruits and vegetables without this neurotoxin,” said Sass.
Scientific studies have shown that chlorpyrifos damages the fetal brain of children. California, the largest agricultural state, banned the sale of pesticides last year. New York և a number of other states have also moved to ban it.
Corteva Inc., the world’s largest producer of pesticides, announced last year that it would stop pesticide production by the end of 2020.
The Delaware-based company, which was formed after the merger of Dow Chemical and Dupont, says declining sales are driving its decision to shut down production, and officials continue to believe that chlorpyrifos is safe.
It was not possible to contact the company spokesman immediately on Thursday.
Theresa Romero, president of the United Farmers Workers’ Union, called the court ruling a “huge victory” for farmers and their families.
“Men and women who collect our food have been waiting a long time for this pesticide to be banned,” she said. He urged that urgent action be taken to ensure that workers and families “no longer have to worry about the myriad of ways that this herbicide can affect their lives.”