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Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez

Representing the 7th District of New York


Velázquez Seeks Ban on Toxic Nerve-Agent Pesticides

Velázquez Seeks Ban on Toxic Nerve-Agent Pesticides
August 2, 2018
Press Release

Washington, DC- Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) has introduced H.R. 6631, the Ban Nerve Agents in Our Food Act of 2018, a bill to end the use of organophosphate pesticides in the United States. Organophosphates have been linked to neurological damage, respiratory illnesses such as asthma and other chronic and debilitating diseases.

“Families need to be assured that when their children are eating food grown in our fields, they are safe for consumption and not tainted with dangerous chemicals that harm kids,” said Velázquez “I believe Congress must act, and that is why I’ve introduced legislation to ban organophosphate pesticides once-and-for-all.”

In 2017, then-EPA administrator Scott Pruitt reversed an Obama-era ban on Chlorpyrifos, a toxic pesticide of the organophosphate family. Shortly thereafter, Velázquez introduced legislation to reinstate a ban on Chlorpyrifos. Her bill unveiled today, the Ban Nerve Agents in Our Food Act of 2018 goes further banning 23 organophosphate pesticides.

 “Organophosphates were first developed as weapons of war and our government ought to put an end to their use, not continue to fuel a deadly industry,” Velázquez added.

“From fields across the nation to our plates, organophosphate pesticides threaten the healthy development of our children, the health and safety of farmworker families and rural communities and expose consumers to residues of nerve agents in our food and drinking water. The public and the most exposed and vulnerable among us deserve urgent action and we applaud Rep. Velázquez for her leadership in introducing this bill,” said Andrea Delgado, legislative director of the Healthy Communities program at Earthjustice. 

“Every year, farmworkers and their children are injured from exposure to organophosphates,” said Virginia Ruiz, Director of Occupational and Environmental Health at Farmworker Justice. “We applaud Rep. Velázquez for working to prevent this needless suffering.”

“The National Farm Worker Ministry, a faith-based organization committed to justice for farm workers, is morally outraged that anyone would not put the safety of human beings before profit,” said Julie Taylor, Executive Director of the National Farm Worker Ministry. “That a government of, by and for the people would allow one of it's agencies to fail to regulate chemicals in pesticides that harm the nervous system is inconscienable.  We fully support the legislation, Ban Nerve Agents in Our Food Act of 2018, and call on our elected representatives to vote to pass it.”

“It is long past time to ban the use of organophosphate nerve gas type pesticides, stop caving-in to corporate interests, and focus on the wellbeing of workers and their children who live in areas surrounded by pesticides.” – Erik Nicholson, National Vice President of United Farm Workers. 
“We commend Rep. Velazquez for working to ban all organophosphate nerve poison pesticides,” said Tiffany Finck-Haynes, Senior Food Futures Campaigner, Food and Technology Program at Friends of the Earth U.S. “Toxic pesticides don’t belong in our environment or on our plates. We urge all members of Congress to support this bill to protect people and the planet.”
“A ban on these dangerous pesticides is long overdue,” said Erik Olson, senior director of food and health at the Natural Resources Defenses Council. “Parents should be able to feed their kids fruits and veggies without fear they’re contaminated by toxic chemicals. Farmworkers and their families shouldn’t have to worry the air they breathe is poisonous. People’s health must come before the interests of powerful polluters.”

“Farmworkers, including children as young as 12 years old, are the forgotten heroes that bring food to our tables every day. We’re delighted that Rep. Velazquez has introduced critical legislation to protect these hard-working men, women, and children from highly toxic pesticides that threatens their health and safety,” said Reid Maki, the director of child labor advocacy at the National Consumers League and the coordinator of the Child Labor Coalition.

“Women farmworkers should not have to risk the health and development of their children due to being exposed to nerve agent pesticides in their work places. And, children of farmworkers should not have to live with learning disabilities, behavioral issues, ADHD and even autism because hard-working parents are subjected to these toxic chemicals while harvesting the food that feeds America.  These pesticides must be banned now.”—Jeannie Economos, Pesticide Safety and Environmental Health Project Coordinator, Farmworker Association of Florida.