St. Paul — This week, Minnesota lawmakers introduced a resolution calling on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to phase out all uses of the insecticide chlorpyrifos. Chlorpyrifos is a widely-used agricultural insecticide that EPA’s own scientists have acknowledged has neurotoxic effects, especially in children. However, in one of his first moves as head of EPA, Administrator Scott Pruitt has reneged on the Agency’s plans to phase out the chemical.
Chlorpyrifos is one of the top eight agricultural pesticides used in Minnesota. Prenatal exposure to chlorpyrifos is associated with increased rates of autism spectrum disorders, ADHD, lowered IQ scores, and impaired working memory. In 2012, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture named chlorpyrifos a surface water pesticide of concern due to increasing detections in surface water. Since chlorpyrifos was banned for residential use in 2001, children in rural communities are disproportionately exposed to the neurotoxin in their air and water.
“My family was harmed the day chlorpyrifos drifted into our home and there is not one day that goes by that we do not wish things had happened differently,” said Bonnie Wirtz, who was exposed to chlorpyrifos when it drifted into her home in Melrose, Minnesota, affecting her and her infant son. “There is not one day that goes by that I do not wish that chlorpyrifos had not been pulled off the market sooner. Families like mine are simply asking that a chemical, which has documented neurodevelopmental harms to children, be addressed instead of given a free pass. People should have a right to live, work and play in communities without fear of being harmed by chemicals, which we know are not safe.”
The resolution has been referred to the House Agriculture Policy Committee and the Senate Agriculture, Rural Development, and Housing Policy Committee.
Lex Horan, Pesticide Action Network, 651.245.1733, firstname.lastname@example.org