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Banned for household use since 2000
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by Julie Fidler
Posted on November 1, 2015

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Friday a proposal that would ban a pesticide commonly sprayed on citrus fruits, almonds, and other crops.

Chlorpyrifos has been in use since 1965 as an insecticide for oranges, apples, cherries, grapes, broccoli, and asparagus. Dozens of farmworkers have been sickened by chlorpyrifos is recent years. In September 2014, a coalition of environmental health groups sued the EPA, asking the agency to ban the toxic chemical.

The agency cited scientific evidence in defense of its ban on chlorpyrifos for household use in 2000. Prior to the ban, chlorpyrifos was the most widely used household pesticide in the U.S. Sold as Dursban, the Dow-made chemical was found in flea collars and was routinely used to kill household pests, such as roaches, termites and ants.

At the time, the agency warned that farmworkers who mixed chlorpyrifos, sold for farms as Lorsban, or applied it using backpack sprayers or open-cab tractors faced a potentially unacceptable level of risk. The agency also said it needed to research how chlorpyrifos drifting from nearby fields or tracked home on clothing put children’s health at risk.

The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) say that chlorpyrifos interferes with the brain development of fetuses, infants and children. [1] It has also been found to cause genetic damage in children, though it is reversible, and one study linked the insecticide to an increased risk of autism in unborn children.

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