EPA to Respond on Chlorpyrifos

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The EPA has 90 days, or until July 18, 2019, to explain why chlorpyrifos should not be banned, says a recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

This is the latest news in an ongoing issue surrounding the human health risks from chlorpyrifos. Earlier this year, the 9th Circuit court granted EPA’s request to rehear the case en banc, or with a panel of ten judges selected randomly.

A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit had ruled in August 2018 that chlorpyrifos should be banned completely effective in 90 days, or by October 2018. EPA under the Obama administration had previously proposed the ban. Under the Trump administration, however, EPA now opposes the ban. 

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue spoke on behalf of USDA, disagreeing with the ruling ordering EPA to revoke tolerances and cancel registrations for chlorpyrifos. “The decision appears to be based on a misunderstanding of both the available scientific information and EPA’s pesticide regulatory system,” Perdue said.

“EPA should be allowed to continue its ongoing science-based and expert-led evaluation of chlorpyrifos, which is part of EPA’s registration review program that covers all pesticides,” he added. “The costs of an incorrect decision on chlorpyrifos are expected to be high and would cause serious impacts to American farmers working to feed, fuel and clothe the United States and the world. This ruling, which would mean the sudden and total loss of chlorpyrifos, prevents farmers from using an effective and economical crop protection tool,” Perdue added.

Though its use has declined over time, environmental horticulture still relies on chlorpyrifos as a rotational partner to pyrethroids and neonicotinoids and as an essential product in both the Japanese beetle harmonization plan and to meet imported fire ant quarantine requirements, among other uses.

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