Kids & Pesticides Don't Mix
When it comes to pesticides, children are among the most vulnerable -- pound for pound, they drink 2.5X more water, eat 3-4X more food, and breathe 2X more air. They also face exposure in the womb and via breast milk.
A recent study out of Harvard linked low-level, dietary exposure to organophosphate pesticides (OP’s) with increased prevalence of ADHD in kids. It was all over the news -- as was the message, “therefore, buy organic.” Here’s the angle that didn’t get covered: most families cannot access organic food, and children in the families who grow our food face even more exposure to OP’s because they live, learn and play near agricultural fields.
Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate insecticide. It’s a neurotoxin that presents particular dangers to the developing brains and bodies of children -- as do all OP’s. That’s why chlorpyrifos was banned for non-agricultural uses in 2001. Tell EPA it’s high time to finish that job – ban chlorpyrifos, once and for all.
Ten years ago EPA banned chlorpyrifos in residential products. Scientific research since that time indicates that this pesticide is even more hazardous than previously thought. For example, a New York City study found associations between prenatal exposures to chlorpyrifos from residential products and birth size, developmental delays, attention problems and other neurological impacts. The study documented a sharp drop in children’s exposures, along with improved birth outcomes after the residential chlorpyrifos ban went into effect. Despite these facts agricultural use of chlorpyrifos has continued. Exposures for farm workers and their children are ongoing and well-documented.
You have stated that protecting children and addressing environmental justice issues are top priorities for EPA. Allowing continued use of chlorpyrifos in agriculture is antithetical to these priorities, causing disproportionate harm to farm worker populations, and in particular to farm worker children. It also causes ongoing exposures for non-agricultural populations through contamination of the food supply and long-range transit to colder regions. It threatens salmon, honey bees and other wildlife.
EPA must act swiftly to ban all remaining uses of chlorpyrifos.
We urge you to:
1) Establish an imminent deadline by which all agricultural use of chlorpyrifos will end.
2) Support meaningful effective programs to provide incentives and assistance to transition growers to safe alternative methods for growing food that do not rely on chlorpyrifos.
3) Phase out other organophosphate pesticides, and adopt a precautionary approach with respect to all pesticide registrations. EPA must learn from the chlorpyrifos experience and prevent adverse health consequences for children and others.