Chlorpyrifos Ordered Removed from Sale

On August 9, 2018, in a split decision, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday reversed an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decision to keep the insecticide chlorpyrifos on the market. In October 2015, the Obama administration proposed banning the pesticide’s use on food. The EPA reversed that effort in March 2017, adopting Dow’s position that the science showing chlorpyrifos is harmful was inconclusive and flawed.

Chlorpyrifos was created by Dow Chemical Co. in the 1960s. It remains among the most widely used agricultural pesticides in the United States, with about 5 million pounds domestically each year through its subsidiary Dow AgroSciences. Dow voluntarily withdrew chlorpyrifos for use as a home insecticide in 2000. EPA also placed “no-spray” buffer zones around sensitive sites, such as schools, in 2012.

Appeals Court Judge Jed S. Rakoff wrote in August 9, 2018 majority’s opinion, “The panel held that there was no justification for the EPA’s decision in its 2017 order to maintain a tolerance for chlorpyrifos in the face of scientific evidence that its residue on food causes neurodevelopmental damage to children,”

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to remove chlorpyrifos from sale in the United States within 60 days. EPA spokesman Michael Abboud said the agency was reviewing the decision. It could appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.

A PDF of the decision is here: