ACTION NEEDED: Ban on Neurotoxic Pesticide Lifted?! Congress Must STOP This Chemical Warfare!
In 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rightfully banned all uses of the pesticide chlorpyrifos in food crops due to it being linked to brain damage in children and neurological effects in adults, even with minimal exposure. Chlorpyrifos has been utilized on various crops, including sugar beets, soybeans, broccoli, cauliflower, fruit trees, and wheat. However, in 2023, a federal court responded to the complaints of major pesticide corporations and lifted the ban on this neurotoxin. Congress urgently needs to call for the reversal of these federal court decisions. The practice of spraying a chemical known to cause brain damage onto our food is abhorrent and must cease immediately. We must ban Chlorpyrifos now!
Chlorpyrifos belongs to the organophosphate (OP) class of chemicals, which includes sarin nerve gas. While there are conflicting claims regarding its origin – some stating it was developed during World War II for chemical warfare while others suggest it was formulated later specifically as a pesticide – what remains certain is its neurotoxic nature. Studies indicate that even low levels of exposure to chlorpyrifos in infants and children are linked to reduced IQ, attention disorders, and autism, while adults exposed to low levels also experience neurological damage. Inhalation or ingestion of chlorpyrifos may lead to a range of nervous system effects, from headaches, blurred vision, seizures, coma, and even death, depending on the duration and level of exposure.
In 2021, the United States followed the footsteps of EU countries in banning the use of this pesticide. However, in 2023, the federal Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on November 2 that the EPA had failed to adhere to legal procedures when revoking chlorpyrifos tolerances, effectively lifting the ban. 
The court acknowledged in its decision that low exposure to chlorpyrifos may not cause noticeable adverse effects in adults but does harm children, particularly concerning its presence in drinking water. Despite this acknowledgment, the court and the petitioners against the ban expressed “they don't know what they can do about that” and expressed no intentions of addressing this issue or mitigating the exposure of children to the chemical.
The EPA retains the authority to reinstate the prohibition of chlorpyrifos following a more thorough review, and it is imperative that they do so. Congress must lend its support. The use of neurotoxic chemicals in our food and water is unacceptable, particularly when the most vulnerable individuals, our children, bear the brunt of the toxin's effects.
Congress must unequivocally demand, endorse, and support the EPA's ban on this pesticide. We must strive for better standards and refuse to compromise or remain passive in the face of seriously hazardous chemicals that amount to chemical warfare against our citizens. Congress, ban Chlorpyrifos now!
HEY You! Thank you for standing in the gap! We encourage you to send this message, linked here, and demand your elected officials do what's right and ban this neurotoxin!