E.P.A. Rejects Calls to Ban Pesticide Linked to Birth Defects

Pesticides have long been linked to a variety of birth defects, and even the most vigilant consumers may be exposed to them through the workplace, home use, and proximity to agricultural areas. There are many different classes of pesticides, but one in particular has been the subject of a long fight to completely ban its use: chlorpyrifos. This pesticide, widely used commercially, has been strongly linked to neurological and other birth defects for more than 40 years.

E.P.A. Refuses to Ban Chlorpyrifos, Chemical Found in Pesticides

The move to reduce the use of chlorpyrifos has spanned decades. For years, it was one of the most commonly used pesticides in homes, gardens, and agricultural settings. In 2001, the Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.) and producers reached an agreement to remove it from home use products and restrict its use commercially.

This level of regulation continued until 2007, when environmental groups petitioned the E.P.A. to ban the use of chlorpyrifos altogether. After studying the issue, in 2015 the E.P.A. recommended banning all uses of the pesticide. However, in 2016, the E.P.A. reversed course as part of an overall focus on rolling back regulations. In response, environmental groups filed a lawsuit to force the E.P.A. to move forward with the ban.

The E.P.A. has continued to allow the use of chlorpyrifos, spurring states to pursue bans and legislators to propose nationwide bans on the substance. Hawaii, New York, and California have banned chlorpyrifos, and Oregon, Connecticut, Washington state, and New Jersey are also pursuing bans or further restrictions. Democratic legislators introduced legislation during the 2018 and 2019 Congresses to ban chlorpyrifos nationwide, but those were not passed.

Environmental groups continue to rely on the courts to push for the ban, culminating in a 90-day deadline imposed by an appeals court. After the 90 days were up, the E.P.A. still refused to ban the use of chlorpyrifos.

Chlorpyrifos Exposure Linked to Birth Defects 

Consumers, gardeners, farmers, and agricultural workers know chlorpyrifos as Raid, Dursban, and Lorsban. Although Raid no longer contains this chemical and Dursban is banned for home use, both Dursban and Lorsban are available for commercial use by people who have special application licenses. As a result, chlorpyrifos is still used commercially on more than 50 food crops, including fruits, nuts, cereals, and vegetables.

This pesticide works by inhibiting nerve function, which eventually kills the insects. And it has neurological effects on humans, also, particularly when babies are exposed in utero. Babies and children exposed to chlorpyrifos have increased risk for low birth weight, ADHD, lower IQ, developmental delays, brain cancers, and even premature death. It may also pass through breast milk, furthering exposure even after infants are born.

Seek justice with the help of our experienced birth defects attorneys. If you or a loved one was exposed to pesticides while pregnant and now have a child who suffers from a life-altering birth defect, call us to see how we can help you and your family receive justice. Our team has over 30 years of combined experience in birth defects litigation in cases involving pesticide exposure.