States Sue the EPA For Allowing a Brain-Damaging Pesticide

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

If you've been following along here, you should be familiar with chlorpyrifos, a chemical in pesticides that was recently approved by Trump's EPA under agency administrator and industry lobbyist Scott Pruitt.

The chemical, which was set to be permanently banned by the Obama administration, has been shown to cause developmental disabilities and brain damage in children and, as we've recently seen, can also sicken adults who are exposed to it. Over 50 farmwarkers were sickened in Bakersfield, California earlier this year after being exposed to chlorpyrifos.

A group of states including New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, Vermont, Washington and the District of Columbia are now suing the EPA for allegedly breaking federal law by arbitrarily reversing the finalized regulations.

The states claim that Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt violated the law by ending his agency’s effort to ban the pesticide sold by Dow Chemical after federal scientists concluded it can interfere with the brain development of fetuses and infants. Federal law requires EPA to ensure that pesticides used on food in the United States are safe for human consumption — especially by children, who studies show are typically far more sensitive to negative effects from pesticides. [...]

Pruitt told Congress last month his decision was based on “meaningful data and meaningful science.” Despite repeated requests, EPA has thus far not provided The Associated Press with copies of any scientific studies Pruitt consulted in determining the pesticide is safe.

Spoiler: Scott Pruitt is a liar. If he actually reviewed any data on the subject, It was almost certainly supplied to him by Dow Chemical.

We recently learned that Scott Pruitt privately met with CEO of Dow Chemical (which manufactures chlorpyrifos) shortly before he reversed the Obama administration's decision to ban it.

Pruitt's close association with the industry could come up in court, but his lack of scientific basis for making the decision certainly will. A period of review is required before agencies can alter or reverse federal regulations and there's no evidence that Pruitt even initiated a review in this case.

I'd say the states have a good case, but we'll see.

  • muselet

    Pruitt told Congress last month his decision was based on “meaningful data and meaningful science.”

    That would be the same sort of “meaningful data” and “meaningful science” that leads Righties to side with the handful of climate scientists who dissent from the consensus on global warming.

    Expect more decisions like this one out of the EPA during the next four years.


    • Draxiar

      My thoughts precisely.

  • Badgerite

    What kind of people are fine with the idea of causing brain damage to the unborn but would insist on that child being born irregardless of the infirmity they have caused it?
    Especially so when it is a decision based on a corporate monetary bottom line and nothing else. How are they different, morally, than a hit man who will kill or injure for money?

    • Georgie

      Evil, greedy, assholes.