By Denisse Moreno On 03/30/17
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt decided to deny a petition to ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos, which is said to harm children’s brains, the agency announced Wednesday.
Under Trump’s administration, the EPA decided chlorpyrifos is “crucial to U.S. agriculture” and added that previous conclusions of epidemiological studies looked at by the agency during the Obama administration were “novel and uncertain.”
The chemical is sprayed on crops including, apples, oranges, strawberries and other foods.
“Pruitt and the Trump administration’s decision ignored overwhelming evidence that even small amounts of chlorpyrifos can damage parts of the brain that control language, memory, behavior and emotion,” said the nonprofit EWG in a statement. “Multiple independent studies have documented that exposure to chlorpyrifos impairs children's IQs, and EPA scientists' assessments of those studies concluded that levels of the pesticide found on food and in drinking water are unsafe.”
The agency’s analysis of effects of chlorpyrifos on children derived from studies by Columbia University, Mount Sinai School of Medicine and the University of California, Berkeley.
The study by Columbia analyzed levels of the pesticide in blood taken from umbilical cords when children were born. Over the years, researchers gathered data on minors who had been exposed to different levels of chlorpyrifos. When the children were 7, the IQ of those who were exposed to high levels of the pesticide was 1.4 percent lower than kids who hadn’t been exposed to chlorpyrifos at all. Working memory also declined by 2.8 percent.