Petition to Ban Chlorpyrifos
Senator Pat Roberts, Chairman, Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry
Senator Debbie Stabenow, Ranking Member
Rep. Collin C. Peterson, Chairman, Committee on Agriculture
Rep. K. Michael Conaway, Ranking Member
Andrew Wheeler, Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency
Dear Senators, Representatives and Administrator Wheeler,
The undersigned individuals call on the Environmental Protection Agency and Congress to ban all agricultural uses of the highly toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos.
Farmworkers and their families are regularly exposed to high levels of pesticides in the fields where they work and in the communities where they live. Their exposure results in thousands of reported pesticide poisonings, illnesses and injuries each year. Unfortunately, farmworkers’ children cannot avoid exposure due to the proximity of their homes, schools and playgrounds to the fields where pesticides are applied. Farmworker children are exposed to chlorpyrifos through airborne drift, water contamination, and residues on their parents’ work clothes.
In 2000, EPA banned the use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos in residential settings because it posed unacceptable risks to young children. Farmworkers and their children across the country are still exposed to chlorpyrifos due to its use on apples, strawberries, broccoli, cherries, corn, almonds, citrus fruit, Christmas trees and other products. The EPA’s double standard on the health of farmworkers and their children must end.
Chlorpyrifos is a highly neurotoxic organophosphate insecticide developed from World War II-era nerve gas. Scientific evidence shows that prenatal exposure to very low levels of chlorpyrifos causes brain damage in babies. Exposure of children and adults can cause dizziness, vomiting, convulsions, numbness in the limbs, loss of intellectual functioning and death.
Former EPA Administrator Pruitt rejected the recommendations of the Agency’s own scientists when he refused to ban further agricultural uses of chlorpyrifos. In the Agency’s November 2016 human health risk assessment of chlorpyrifos, EPA scientists found that there are no safe levels of the pesticide in food or water, that unsafe exposures to farmworkers continue on average 18 days after applications, and that workers who mix and apply it are exposed to unsafe levels even when using protective gear.
We call on the EPA to comply with its obligation to protect human health and the environment and immediately ban agricultural use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos. To ensure that the EPA no longer has the authority to discriminatorily allow farmworker families to be exposed to this highly toxic chemical, we also call on Congress to pass legislation by Rep. Velazquez, HR 230, and Sen. Udall, S.921, to outlaw chlorpyrifos.
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Thank you for supporting the health and safety of farmworkers and their children by signing the petition to ban chlorpyrifos.
Farmworker Justice will soon send the petition to key Members of Congress and EPA Administrator Wheeler.
Please take advantage of the information available on Farmworker Justice’s website, including our resource center on pesticides.
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