When it comes to pesticides, children are among the most vulnerable. Pound for pound--they drink 2.5 times more water, eat 3-4 times more food, and breathe twice as much air. They also face exposure in the womb and via breast milk. This is true for every child - no matter where they live. A recent study out of Harvard linked low-level, dietary exposure to organophosphate pesticides (OP's) with increased prevalence of ADHD in kids.
Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate insecticide. It's a neurotoxin that presents particular dangers to the developing brains and bodies of children--as do all OP's. Acute poisoning with these neurotoxins can cause headaches, vomiting, inability to concentrate, difficulty breathing and more. Exposure to even very small amounts, especially at critical periods of fetal development, can lead to learning and developmental disorders. That's why chlorpyrifos was banned for non-agricultural uses in 2001. Tell the EPA it's time to finish the job and ban chlorpyrifos, once and for all.
The UFW is working with other environmental groups to turn in a petition to the EPA by mid-June. Please sign the petition and tell EPA to get chlorpyrifos out of the fields.
Petition to EPA
Dear Administrator Jackson:
Ten years ago EPA banned chlorpyrifos in residential products. Scientific research since that time indicates that this pesticide is even more hazardous than previously thought. For example, a New York City study found associations between prenatal exposures to chlorpyrifos from residential products and birth size, developmental delays, attention problems and other neurological impacts. The study documented a sharp drop in children’s exposures, along with improved birth outcomes after the residential chlorpyrifos ban went into effect. Despite these facts agricultural use of chlorpyrifos has continued. Exposures for farm workers and their children are ongoing and well-documented.
You have stated that protecting children and addressing environmental justice issues are top priorities for EPA. Allowing continued use of chlorpyrifos in agriculture is antithetical to these priorities, causing disproportionate harm to farm worker populations, and in particular to farm worker children. It also causes ongoing exposures for non-agricultural populations through contamination of the food supply and long-range transit to colder regions. It threatens salmon, honey bees and other wildlife.
EPA must act swiftly to ban all remaining uses of chlorpyrifos.
We urge you to:
1) Establish an imminent deadline by which all agricultural use of chlorpyrifos will end.
2) Support meaningful effective programs to provide incentives and assistance to transition growers to safe alternative methods for growing food that do not rely on chlorpyrifos.
3) Phase out other organophosphate pesticides, and adopt a precautionary approach with respect to all pesticide registrations. EPA must learn from the chlorpyrifos experience and prevent adverse health consequences for children and others.