Velázquez, Blumenthal, Additional Members of Congress Call on EPA to Strip Chlorpyrifos from U.S. Agriculture & Food
Washington, DC – Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY), Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and 6 members of Congress sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head urging the agency to meet an August 20th court-ordered deadline to finalize its plan to get chlorpyrifos, a neurotoxic pesticide, off of food. Currently, chlorpyrifos is allowed on 48 food commodities, including fruits, vegetables, meats, and offshoot products. This causes irreparable harm to those who work, attend school, or live near the fields where chlorpyrifos is sprayed, with young children being the most vulnerable to long-term developmental risks if exposed.
On April 29th, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit rejected EPA’s legal arguments in the LULAC v. Regan case for delaying taking regulatory action on chlorpyrifos, noting that “EPA’s egregious delay exposed a generation of American children to unsafe levels of chlorpyrifos.”
In the decision, the Ninth Circuit required that by August 20th, 2021, the EPA must revoke all food tolerances of chlorpyrifos or otherwise prove that any allowed tolerances are safe.
"With the court-imposed deadline fast approaching, we urge you to reverse course of the Trump administration’s indefensible proposal to allow many food uses of chlorpyrifos to remain on the market and follow the science to prioritize the health and safety of children and farmworkers across the country," wrote the lawmakers. "Administrator Regan, at your confirmation hearing, you stated that you would be driven by science and driven by the rule of law when it came to regulating chlorpyrifos. In the case of chlorpyrifos, the law and science are clear. As such, we strongly urge the EPA to revoke all food tolerances of chlorpyrifos so that another generation of children are not exposed to this damaging neurotoxic chemical."
The full letter and list of signatories is available here.