EPA Bans Use of Chlorpyrifos Pesticide on Food

In a reversal, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency banned the usage of chlorpyrifos pesticides on food, according to a press release issued Wednesday. The release comes in response to a petition filed over a decade ago by environmental organizations.

“Today EPA is taking an overdue step to protect public health. Ending the use of chlorpyrifos on food will help to ensure children, farmworkers, and all people are protected from the potentially dangerous consequences of this pesticide,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan in the release.

The final rule will revoke all tolerances, or the allowable residue of a given chemical, on food products. The release did not mention any restriction on the use of chlorpyrifos on non-food products.

The decision, according to the agency, comes in response to a Ninth Circuit opinion from April of this year which required the EPA to respond to a petition in 2007 by Pesticide Action Network and the Natural Resources Defense Council. The petition raised the alarm for chlorpyrifos tolerances “in part due to the potential for neurodevelopmental effects in children.” The petition was rejected twice during the Trump Administration.

The release explained that the use of these chemicals had declined in recent years, in part due to state-level regulation. Corteva, an agrochemical company that was spun off of Dow DuPont in 2019, halted the production of chlorpyrifos in 2020.