EPA defends pesticide linked to brain damage in children | AP business

Crop sprayer spraying pesticides on crops in field

Crop sprayer spraying pesticides on crops in field

The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday said it will not ban the use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos, which has been linked to health issues in children, from use on USA -grown fruits and vegetables.

"To me, this starts the clock on the use of chlorpyrifos on food crops in the United States", said former senior EPA attorney Kevin Minoli.

In its response, the agency says the environmental groups failed to prove the pesticide isn't safe.

"By allowing chlorpyrifos to stay in our fruits and vegetables, Trump's EPA is breaking the law and neglecting the overwhelming scientific evidence that this pesticide harms children's brains", Goldman said in a statement. The court chose to reconsider that ruling with a slate of 11 judges, who gave the EPA until this month to respond to the environmental groups' arguments for banning chlorpyrifos.

The pesticide is made by Corteva Agriscience, formerly part of DowDuPont.

"After reviewing the objections, EPA has determined that the objections related to Petition claims regarding neurodevelopmental toxicity must be denied because the objections and the underlying Petition are not supported by valid, complete, and reliable evidence sufficient to meet the Petitioners' burden", wrote Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, assistant administrator for chemical safety.

Patti Goldman, an attorney for Earthjustice, an environmental group that brought a legal challenge against the EPA's 2017 decision on behalf of farmworker organizations and others, criticized the decision.

The EPA's defense Thursday comes in response to an environmental group's federal court fight to force the agency to ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos (klor-PEER'-ih-fahs).

The EPA said it also was talking with chlorpyrifos makers about further restrictions on how farmers use the pesticide.

"If the Trump administration had followed the advice of its scientists, chlorpyrifos likely would not be in the food and milk kids eat and drink today", he said.