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The environmental law organization Earthjustice celebrated a “huge victory” for farmworkers and children on Thursday after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to ban all food uses of a toxic pesticide linked to memory loss and developmental harms.
“This ruling is a huge victory for children and communities across the country who will finally be spared by needless poisonings and lifelong learning disabilities,” said Earthjustice in a statement.
Representing labor groups including United Farm Workers and public health organizations including the Learning Disability Association of America, Earthjustice filed a lawsuit against the EPA after the agency refused to ban chlorpyrifos in 2019 and in 2016 under the Trump administration.
The Obama administration had been working to ban the pesticide before former president Donald Trump took office in 2016, and environmental groups have been calling for an end to all food uses for the chemical for decades.
“We have been working for years to make this happen,” Earthjustice tweeted Thursday.
BREAKING: Today, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the @EPA to ban all food uses of chlorpyrifos, a toxic pesticide, or retain only those uses it can find safe for workers and children. We have been working for years to make this happen. 1/2 https://t.co/DKVoX2KdV7
— Earthjustice (@Earthjustice) April 29, 2021
Numerous scientific studies have found that exposure to organophosphate pesticides, the class of chemicals that includes chlorpyrifos, is linked to attention deficit disorders, autism spectrum disorders, hand tremors, and other symptoms in children.
Organophosphates — which also include sarin nerve gas — were originally developed by the Nazis for chemical warfare but were later adopted for agricultural uses.
Chlorpyrifos was banned for household use in 2001, but is still used widely to grow strawberries, apples, citrus, broccoli, corn, and other fruits and vegetables — putting farmworkers and rural communities most at risk for exposure but also affecting children’s long-term health through exposures in food and drinking water.
Originally published by Common Dreams.