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UFW & UFW Foundation: U.S. EPA decision will end 90% of U.S. chlorpyrifos use; does not end risks for non-food uses

Reversing a Trump administration ruling that allowed continued use of the toxic child-brain damaging chemical chloryprifos, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today banned its use on food. But today’s decision does not eliminate risks posed by non-food uses of chlorpyrifos involving farm workers. Non-food uses refer to ornamental plants, greenhouses and more—all sectors employing agricultural workers. In order to protect all farm workers, the UFW and UFW Foundation vow to continue advocating for an end to all uses of the neurotoxic pesticide.

United Farm Workers President Teresa Romero, said:

We estimate this decision will end 90 percent of chlorpyrifos use in the U.S., vastly reducing exposure to the chemical that damages the brains and lowers the IQs of infants and young children. This is a great step forward. That said, the EPA also needs to eliminate risks of other occupational exposures of farm workers and their families. To pursue true environmental justice, EPA should weigh how its action affects the most vulnerable. We will continue to call for a ban on all use of this pesticide and other organophosphates.

UFW Foundation Executive Director Diana Tellefson Torres, said:

After several years of advocacy and litigation, today’s decision represents significant progress in protecting farm worker families who are on the frontlines of exposure to harmful poisons like chlorpyrifos. It is a nerve agent that has no place in our food supply. In revoking all food tolerances, EPA will eliminate the overwhelming majority of uses of chlorpyrifos. However, this ruling does not eliminate risks posed by the remaining non-food applications of chlorpyrifos. While EPA’s decision is a move in the right direction, farm workers should be protected by the complete elimination of chlorpyrifos. We will continue advocating towards that end. All farm workers, whether they work in food crops or not, must be protected through the full banning of chlorpyrifos.

Farm worker directly exposed to chlorpyrifos is available to share her testimony.