The Environmental Protection Agency has decided not to ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos, which has been largely associated with neurological problems in children.
According to the EPA, there is unsubstantial evidence to support the claim that the pesticide causes health issues and therefore, banning it would be ungrounded, the agency believes. The ban was previously requested by environmental groups and a group of states that said the agency’s latest decision just stood to demonstrate the Trump administration siding with industry.
“EPA has determined that their objections must be denied because the data available are not sufficiently valid, complete or reliable to meet petitioners’ burden to present evidence demonstrating that the tolerances are not safe,” the agency said in a statement Thursday.
However, critics do not agree with the EPA assessment, saying that there is scientific evidence proving that chlorpyrifos causes neurological issues in farmworkers and their children. The pesticide has been banned for household use since 2000, but was allowed to be used in agricultural production.
Environmental groups have been challenging that decision in courts since 2007. Earlier this year, the EPA was ordered by a federal court to make a determination on the matter, resulting in Thursday’s decision.
“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,” said Earthjustice attorney Patti Goldman, who represents the groups that challenged the issue to court.
The EPA said it will continue an ongoing review of chlorpyrifos and make its next determination about the pesticide by 2022. Its statement said that the upcoming review “could result in further use limitations affecting the outcome of EPA’s assessment.”