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Sen. Tom Udall wants EPA to ban neurotoxic chemical: ‘Scott Pruitt doesn’t listen to science’

Sen. Tom Udall wants EPA to ban neurotoxic chemical: ‘Scott Pruitt doesn’t listen to science’

In defiance of President Trump’s deregulatory agenda, Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., is fighting to ban a pesticide that’s been found to cause brain damage and other neurological harm to children.

Udall introduced a bill last summer, the Protect Children, Farmers and Farmworkers from Nerve Agent Pesticides Act, to prohibit chlorpyrifos (pronounced klawr-pir-uh-fos), which is commonly used on popular vegetables, nuts and fruits, including apples and oranges.

In March 2017, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt rejected the conclusion of EPA scientists that all uses of chlorpyrifos put children and farmworkers at risk. Pruitt claimed that the science isn’t settled and struck down an EPA rule proposed two years earlier to outlaw use of the chemical.

“In one of his first decisions at the EPA, Administrator Pruitt showed his hand. He showed the American people exactly how he’d use his position at the EPA: to grease the wheels for his friends in industry at the expense of the health and safety of children, families and workers,” Udall told Yahoo News.

Over the past decade, the science has built up to show that even low levels of exposure to chlorpyrifos during critical times in a brain’s development, whether in utero or during childhood, can lead to long-lasting, potentially permanent changes. A landmark brain-imaging study from the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health at the Mailman School of Public Health in 2012 identified cognitive damage in humans, corroborating previous findings in animals, after prenatal exposure to chlorpyrifos at levels below the EPA’s toxicity threshold.

“Scott Pruitt doesn’t listen to science,” Udall said.

Since he introduced the bill, Udall said there’s been evidence that members from both sides of the aisle realize that protecting children from toxic chemicals is not a partisan issue. He noted that a bipartisan coalition came together to end Michael Dourson’s nomination to run the EPA’s toxics office. He called Dourson “a toxicologist for hire who produced junk science for industry.”

“And there are other signs of progress: Hawaii just became the first state in the country to officially ban chlorpyrifos,” Udall continued. “I’m optimistic that other states will pursue a ban as well, as long as the EPA administrator refuses to uphold the fundamental mission of his office to protect American families.”

A brief history of how we got to this point: The EPA banned chlorpyrifos, the most used pesticide in the U.S., from household products in 2000, but affirmed it would still be permissible for agriculture and industry. In September 2007, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Pesticide Action Network of North America filed a petition for the EPA to either ban the toxic chemical outright or establish residue standards for our food supply. In September 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ordered the EPA to respond to the petition and — following an extensive review — the EPA ordered that the chemical be banned from the food supply completely.

Miriam Rotkin-Ellman, the senior scientist for the health and environment program at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), said she and her colleagues have long been concerned about chlorpyrifos and related pesticides, which are known as organophosphates, because they’ve followed the science since it was allowed in homes to kill roaches and ants.

“The federal EPA had reanalyzed the safety of this pesticide and found the food uses were not safe and were putting in motion the process to get it out of the food supply. The administration changed and Pruitt reversed that process, and now we’re scrambling to fight to fulfill what should have been done already,” Rotkin-Ellman told Yahoo News.

$1 million to his inauguration fund. Pruitt was scheduled to have a half-hour meeting with Liveris at a Houston hotel during an energy conference on March 9 — just weeks before he reversed the EPA’s chlorpyrifos ban. An agency spokesperson told the AP that the meeting “never happened due to schedule conflicts” but that the two men had a “brief introduction in passing.”” data-reactid=”50″>Andrew Liveris, the CEO and presi

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