The chemical Chlorypyrifos was initially developed as a weapon. Today roughly 6 million pounds of the stuff is sprayed annually on various crops in the U.S, including citrus, apples, and cherries.
Chlorypyrifos is so toxic that when applying the pesticide to fields, workers must don protective garments such as respirators during application, and are banned from the fields for up to 5 days after spraying due to the lingering risk of chemical exposure.
At the end of last year, a scientific paper in the peer-reviewed weekly medical journal PLOS Medicine, warned of the dangers that the entire genre of organophosphate pesticides pose a significant threat to children’s health and development.The article also cited evidence showing that exposure to these chemicas, even at levels previously considered safe, can lead to cognitive problems, reduced IQ, and increased risk of learning disability.
Just as you might expect, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under Trump’s direction are currently ignoring the science behind the danger these pesticides pose to both farm workers and consumers.Though the EPA originally proposed to ban Chlorpyrifos in 2016, the decision was subsequently reversed in 2017 with the help of Trump’s Big-Ag backed EPA director Scott Pruitt.
Some good, however, may at last be on the horizon. Hawaii has become the first state in the U.S. to ban Chlorpyrifos, (effective 2022), and new legislation has recently been introduced to extend that ban across the nation.