The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced this month that it is revoking all “tolerances” for chlorpyrifos, a widely used agricultural pesticide linked to neurological development issues in children. The agency’s action is an overdue response to a 2007 petition by environmental advocacy organizations and several States in efforts to better protect human health, especially those most vulnerable – children and farmworkers.
The EPA’s risk assessment of the toxicity of the pesticide with information regarding the route, magnitude, and duration of exposure deemed that chlorpyrifos residue in or on food and in drinking water is considered unsafe. The final rule comes into effect in six months. Prior to EPA’s decision, certain states including Oregon, New York, California, and Hawaii had restricted the sale and use of the pesticide.
“Today E.P.A. is taking an overdue step to protect public health,” EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan, said. “Ending the use of chlorpyrifos on food will help to ensure children, farmworkers, and all people are protected from the potentially dangerous consequences of this pesticide.”
For more than 50 years, the neurotoxic insecticide has been used to control foliage and pests on various produce, particularly soybeans, apples, tree nuts, broccoli, and other row crops. Despite being one of the most popular pesticides, science over a decade old has linked chlorpyrifos to brain damage. Research has found chlorpyrifos to inhibit an enzyme, which leads to neurotoxicity, and has also been associated with adverse neurological effects in children. Mounting evidence shows exposure to organophosphate insecticides like chlorpyrifos, even at low levels, can play a role in the development of autism, attention disorders, delayed motor skills, lower birth weights, and reduced IQ.
The damaging effects and safety concerns of chlorpyrifos echo the same dangers as the widely used pesticide paraquat, yet little measures have been taken by the government to act. The United States is one of the few nations that still allows the herbicide to be sprayed. The risks of paraquat exposure have been so well documented that it’s banned in 32 countries globally, including Switzerland and China, where paraquat is manufactured. Meanwhile, soybean fields, one of the main crops that uses the pesticide, has ramped up the number of pounds used more than fourfold over the past decade.
Paraquat Dichloride (paraquat), a component of the mainstream weed killer Gramoxone, is one of the most powerful and popular herbicides on the market used primarily on row crops. Paraquat has long been a controversial topic due to its correlation to suicide, as drinking one small sip is lethal, but now a growing body of research is linking the herbicide to a less overt danger – Parkinson’s disease. Since the 90s, numerous studies and clinical research have linked paraquat to an increased risk of Parkinson’s Disease, and, in 2011, an analysis found that paraquat exposure increased the risk of PD by 250%, according to the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
With the growing evidence supporting a connection been paraquat and PD, lawmakers need to take action. These regulatory measures are long overdue and are necessary to protect future generations from falling victim to these chemical’s adverse health effects. We should not have to wonder if the food we are feeding our families or air some breath at work is tainted with pesticides that may lead to life-altering effects.
Meyers & Flowers is taking legal action against the manufacturers of paraquat, Syngenta and other contributors, that knowingly produced, marketed, and sold a life-threatening product. Meyers & Flowers is prepared to fight for justice and recover damages for those injured by paraquat. Our team of product liability attorneys have a successful track record taking on major corporations and manufacturers and is primed to do so again.
If you or someone you love has worked with paraquat or believes they have been exposed to paraquat and later was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease or developed signs of PD, please contact our office today for a free case evaluation to explore your legal options.