Science and Tech


New EPA Head Rejects Pesticide Ban Recommended By The Agency

In 2015, the EPA proposed banning chlorpyrifos, which has been linked to serious health and brain issues — especially in children.
Posted at 10:15 AM, Mar 30, 2017

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency is rejecting safety recommendations previously made by the agency.

On Wednesday, Scott Pruitt OK'd the continued use of chlorpyrifos — a pesticide linked to serious health and brain issues, especially in children. He said more scientific evidence is needed before banning it.

The EPA has been slowly limiting the use of chlorpyrifos for over a decade. In 2000, the agency banned it in households. In years following, it steadily reduced how much of the chemical could be used on crops.

And in 2015, the EPA proposed chlorpyrifos be banned completely.

But the company that makes the product argued the science behind it is debatable and has pushed the EPA to back off a ban.

Now, Pruitt has done just that. The EPA chief said in a statement his agency is "returning to using sound science" to make decisions.

"We need to provide regulatory certainty to the thousands of American farms that rely on chlorpyrifos, while still protecting human health and the environment," he said.

Pruitt's appointment as head of the EPA was controversial — he sued the agency he now leads over climate change last year. 

And in early March, Pruitt said he doesn't believe carbon dioxide has a major impact on global warming.