Protecting our Food from Toxic Pesticides

Protecting our Food from Toxic Pesticides

For far too long, we’ve been exposed to a neurotoxic pesticide called chlorpyrifos, despite decades of science clearly linking this pesticide to brain damage in children. But recently, following years of pressure, President Biden’s EPA has banned the use of chlorpyrifos in foods! This is a major win in the fight to protect farmworkers and people in rural communities, who have been exposed to the chemical for decades— along with over 1,200 endangered species that have faced the pesticide’s deadly impact.

This victory was made possible by the countless advocates who recognized the harm of chlorpyrifos and organized to see its use eliminated — including more than 274,000 Friends of the Earth members who sent comments to EPA calling for a ban on this brain-damaging pesticide.

For years during the Obama administration, strides were made towards banning the chemical. Then, when Trump took office, his inauguration committee received a $1 million dollar donation from the CEO of Dow Chemical — chlorpyrifos’ primary manufacture. Soon after, the EPA reversed course of banning the pesticide, defying the agency’s own science so Trump’s pesticide company donors could continue to rake in profits.

With inaction on the federal level, states like California, Hawaii, New York, and Maryland stepped up to ban chlorpyrifos, protecting people and the planet. On top of the harm felt by farmworkers and rural communities, chlorpyrifos also has a sizable impact on wildlife. Bees have seen widespread population losses in recent years, posing a massive risk to our food system — and chlorpyrifos is one of the most toxic pesticide for bees. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has also found that chlorpyrifos threatens endangered species like the kit fox and seaside sparrow.

We will not sit by while pesticide companies profit on killing endangered species, wrecking our food system, and actively harming the health of farmers, farmworkers, and rural communities.

The EPA’s ban is a huge win — but the work is not over. Chlorpyrifos is banned in the use of the chemical in foods, but the harmful chemical is still found in non-food uses, such as on golf courses.

There is still work to be done, but we celebrate this victory and thank our members for being part of our grassroots movements towards creating a more healthy and just world!

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