32 Members of Congress Want to Allow Conventional Farmers to Continue Poisoning Children… And You
Senate and House Ag Committee members pressure EPA to lift chlorpyrifos insecticide ban. Who are the Terrible Thirty-Two? Read on to find out.
March 8, 2022 by GMO/Toxin Free USA Staff
For years, health and environmental advocates had been calling on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ban the dangerous organophosphate insecticide, chlorpyrifos. Science shows that levels of the neurotoxic pesticide found on conventional foods pose unacceptable risks and could harm developing babies and children, along with farmworkers forced to apply it in farm fields.
Major studies have found strong evidence that low dose exposure to chlorpyrifos in the womb or after birth inhibits children’s brain development. The effects can be devastating, ranging from lower IQ to higher rates of autism. Chlorpyrifos is not only used on commodity crops such as corn, soybeans, and alfalfa, but also on apples, cherries, grapes, oranges, peaches, strawberries, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, tomatoes, almonds, pistachios, and walnuts, among other common crops.
First, let’s recap…
- In 2015, following legal pressure from NGOs, an EPA review concluded that exposure to chlorpyrifos, an organophosphate-class insecticide that is similar to sarin, poses an unacceptable risk to human health, from both residues on food and in drinking water.
- In 2016, the EPA under Administrator Gina McCarthy proposed to revoke all food residue tolerances for chlorpyrifos.
- In December 2016, Dow Chemical, the manufacturer of chlorpyrifos, made a $1 million donation to Trump’s presidential inaugural campaign as a quid pro quo.
- In 2017, President Trump appointed Scott Pruitt as the new EPA Administrator to replace Gina McCarthy. Pruitt then announced EPA’s reversal of the proposed chlorpyrifos ban.
- In July 2018, Pruitt was forced to resign due to overwhelming charges of corruption. The pollution industry lobbyist, Andrew Wheeler, was appointed by Trump to replace Pruitt.
- In August 2018, a federal appeals court ruled that the EPA endangered public health by keeping chlorpyrifos on the market despite extensive scientific evidence that found even tiny levels of exposure can harm babies’ brains. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the EPA to remove chlorpyrifos from sale in the U.S. within 60 days. Andrew Wheeler ignored the court order to ban chlorpyrifos, prioritizing corporate profits over children’s health.
- After federal inaction, individual states began passing state-level bans on chlorpyrifos, including California, New York, Hawaii and Maryland. In January 2020, the European Union banned chlorpyrifos, citing that there is no safe level of exposure.
- In July 2021, a federal court again ordered the EPA to either prove the safety of chlorpyrifos or to ban its use on food. Newly appointed EPA Administrator Michael Regan put out a press release stating: “In a final rule released today, EPA is revoking all ‘tolerances’ for chlorpyrifos, which establish an amount of a pesticide that is allowed on food. In addition, the agency will issue a Notice of Intent to Cancel under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act to cancel registered food uses of chlorpyrifos associated with the revoked tolerances.”
- On February 28, 2022, EPA’s final rule on chlorpyrifos use on human food and animal feed went into effect. Chlorpyrifos products are now illegal and farmers that have leftover products must wait for proper hazardous waste disposal instructions from EPA.
So everything is hunky dory, right? Not quite.
In November 2021, a group of politicians from the Senate and House Ag Committees sent a letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan pressuring him and the agency to reverse its decision on the chlorpyrifos ban. The letter was signed by 33 lawmakers, one of whom is now deceased.
These politicians had the gall to be “deeply concerned” that the EPA wasn’t doing its job correctly. When in fact, for once, the EPA was actually doing its job by protecting Americans from exposure to chlorpyrifos rather than protecting the profits of chemical corporations and the chemical addiction of conventional farmers.
The politicians also erroneously claimed that the EPA was “disregarding scientifically-sound, risk-based regulatory processes” and went so far as to call EPA’s recent evaluations for glyphosate, atrazine, and simazine “dangerous” because EPA found these toxic herbicides likely to adversely affect species under the Endangered Species Act.
Protecting public health and the environment is “dangerous”? Maybe in an alternate universe. But in this reality, the only danger that we can see is this group of corrupt politicians carrying water for Dow Chemical and Bayer-Monsanto.
Who are these politicians? We’re glad you asked…
The Terrible Thirty-Two (click to view large photo)
For too many years we’ve watched the corruption infecting the EPA, preventing the agency from actually following its directive to protect human health and the environment. The agency needs serious reform. The Terrible Thirty-Two, on the other hand, wants an EPA that continues to follow industry junk science in approving chemicals.
The decision to ban all tolerances of chlorpyrifos on food and animal feed is the correct decision and the EPA must not bow to politicians who are in the pockets of Big Chemical, Big Ag, and Big Food.
What can you do to make sure the EPA does not change its mind?
Take a minute to send an email to the EPA telling the agency that no consideration should be given to the ridiculous statements and requests made by the 32 Ag Committee members.
For those of you that may be represented by some of these Senators or Representatives, send an email telling them that you do not support their letter. Whether you voted for them or not, they need to be held accountable. Elected officials should be working in the interest of all Americans, not for big corporations.
Everyone deserves food without poison in it. We should be working toward a food system without toxic synthetic pesticides, not continuing a chemical treadmill that is making Americans sick and polluting the environment.
CLICK HERE TO TAKE ACTION.