Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, December 5, 2016

Contact: Nathan Donley, (971) 717-6406,

Pro-pesticide Trade Group Urges EPA to Ignore Science on
Dangerous Neurotoxin Chlorpyrifos, Keep Pesticide on Store Shelves

PORTLAND, Ore.— In response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to cancel all food uses of the dangerous 1960s-era pesticide chlorpyrifos, Crop Life America has launched a desperate last-ditch effort to keep the known neurotoxin on store shelves.    

The EPA’s proposed decision is based, in part, on data from a peer-reviewed epidemiological study that found a positive correlation between chlorpyrifos levels in fetal cord blood and adverse effects on memory and IQ in children. The EPA’s own recent evaluation of chlorpyrifos also found that it is likely to adversely affect an astounding 97 percent of all 1,700 federally protected species, including whooping cranes and San Joaquin kit foxes. Despite abundant evidence that chlorpyrifos is too dangerous to have any place in our agricultural system, and an order from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals mandating a decision on the proposed ban by March of 2017, Crop Life America continues to fight the ban.

“Crop Life America is copying the tactics of the tobacco industry, scrambling to defame good science as inadequate in order to delay commonsense, research-backed regulatory action,” said Dr. Nathan Donley, a senior scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity. “The company’s request that the EPA disregard high-quality research on the pesticide’s harm to humans and revert to relying solely on animal studies is absurd.”

Five million pounds of chlorpyrifos are used in the United States every year on crops such as corn, peanuts, plums and wheat. A recent study at the University of California at Berkeley found that an alarming 87 percent of umbilical-cord blood samples tested had detectable levels of chlorpyrifos. Early childhood exposure to organophosphates has been linked to cognitive delay and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. Organophosphates were used as nerve agents in chemical warfare and have been linked to Gulf War syndrome, which causes fatigue, headaches, skin problems and breathing disorders. 

“The science is clear. There is no excuse for the EPA to delay banning this dangerous pesticide on food crops,” said Donley. “Organophosphates are not compatible with healthy food production, nor are they necessary for high crop yields. We urge the EPA to deny Crop Life’s petition and move forward with its action to ban this toxic pesticide in food.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with 1.1 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Go back