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EU bans brain-harming chlorpyrifos, despite pesticide industry pressure

In a victory for children, workers and future generations, European governments will not renew authorization of the dangerous pesticide

Today, representatives from the European Member States Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed voted to ban the neurotoxic pesticides chlorpyrifos and chlorpyrifos-methyl from the European Union (EU) market, a historic move that has been applauded by health and environmental groups across Europe and around the world.

Exposure to chlorpyrifos, even in small doses, is dangerous and has been linked to neurodevelopmental disorders in children such as increased risk of autism, working memory loss, ADHD and decreased IQ. Children are especially at risk because their brains are still developing. According to PAN Europe and partners, chlorpyrifos is among the most commonly used pesticides in Europe and its residues are often present in fruits, vegetables, cereals and dairy products, as well as drinking water.

In response to legal action by PAN North America and partners, chlorpyrifos was slated for withdrawal from the U.S. in 2017, but the planned ban was reversed when the current administration took office. Chlorpyrifos has since been banned in Hawai’i and California, and a New York ban awaits the Governor’s signature.

PAN North America Executive Director Kristin Schafer issued the following statement in response to the EU decision:

We applaud EU leaders for following the science and taking a stand for public and environmental health, despite heavy pressure from the pesticide industry. We understand that Corteva, the corporation resulting from the merger of Dupont and Dow, was quite aggressive in their lobbying to protect this market for their product.

Unfortunately the U.S. government is not as strong in the face of such pressure. The politically appointed leaders of our Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) flouted the recommendations of their own scientists, and reversed the planned ban of Dow’s chlorpyrifos just weeks after meeting with representatives of the corporation in early 2017.

This kow-towing to industry pressure left another generation of U.S. children needlessly exposed to a brain-harming pesticide. We’ll continue to support action at the state level here in this country, and heartily congratulate EU countries for doing the right thing.


Picture of Pesticide Action Network

Pesticide Action Network

Pesticide Action Network is dedicated to advancing alternatives to pesticides worldwide. Follow @pesticideaction

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