The EPA Denies a Petition to Ban Dow’s Chlorpyrifos

In her book Silent Spring which was published in 1962, environmental scientist Rachel Carson warned us of the effects of using pesticides.  In March of this year Scott Pruitt, an administrator with the Environmental Protection Agency  and the Trump Administration’s top environmental official, met with Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris regarding the use of Chlorpyrifos, which according to the Los Angeles Times interferes with brain development  of fetuses and infants.  Their meeting was regarding the use of of the pesticide in which the EPA decided to reverse its ban.

On their website, the Environmental Protection agency defines Chlorpyrifos as an organophosphate primarily used to control foliage and soil borne insect pests on a variety of food and feed crops.  The EPA states that Chlorpyrifos can over stimulate the nervous system causing nausea, dizziness, confusion and at high exposure respiratory paralysis and death.  More than 6 million pounds of Chlorpyrifos is sprayed each year on fruits and other crops making it one of the most widely used pesticides in the world.  The pesticide had been on the market since the early 1960’s and has been blames for sickening farm workers in recent years.

Why then did the Environmental Protection Agency decline to ban the pesticide from being used?  In a recent article, the Los Angeles times states that Dow donated $1,000,000 to Trump’s political campaign.  This appears as though it may be a conflict of interest which could result in causing serious illnesses and death.

Unfortunately Rachel Carson’s pleas to ban pesticides from use have largely gone unheard and we are only now beginning to see the effects on humans and other living species as well as water quality.  We may feel the harm for many years to come.  Is a political favor worth it?


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I am a freelance writer and artist living in southern California.

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