You probably thought glyphosate, the main active ingredient in the herbicide “Roundup” manufactured by Monsanto was probably the worst chemical that was wreaking havoc on our health and that of the environment. You obviously haven’t read about Chlorpyrifos yet!

Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate insecticide manufactured by Dow Chemicals for some time. Numerous studies have associated Chlorpyrifos with serious health effects, namely brain damage, arrested brain development, neurological abnormalities, lower IQ, and behavioral aggressiveness among children. It is usually applied on basic crops such as corn, wheat, and other non-organic vegetables and fruits.

The hottest news right now is that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), care of its Trump-appointed head Scott Pruitt, has denied all petitions to ban this neurotoxin, stating that the evidence against it is inconclusive!

And to further add salt to a wound, Pruitt filed more than 12 lawsuits to quash regulations he is now enforcing – even though his colleagues at the EPA have decided to make a move to ban Chlorpyrifos as early as a decade ago.

History of Chlorpyrifos

A lot of anti-pesticide activists are mystified by Pruitt’s behavior although a lot perceive his loyalties are more towards championing the cause of the big pesticide makers. This came as a surprise to everyone because a decade earlier, the EPA had mounting evidence and studies that chlorpyrifos had been found to have the ability to disrupt communication between brain cells and brain function. In one documented study, children with high levels of exposure to this chemical had lower IQ at age 7. Moreover, documented research also indicated that living within 1 mile of chlorpyrifos-infested fields increases a woman’s risk of begetting an autistic child by 300%.

87 Percent of Newborns Have Chlorpyrifos in Their Cord Blood

A 2014 study of pregnant women exposed to chlorpyrifos in their 2nd trimester was reported to have a 60% higher risk of having an autistic child. Likewise, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that chlorpyrifos is metabolized in the body into 3, 5, 6-trichloro-2-pyridine (TCPy) – more toxic substances than chlorpyrifos!

Unfortunately, a 2012 study of California residents showed that 82% of them have this TCPy, including pregnant women. Finally, another 2012 study of maternal women and their children in an agricultural community discovered noticeable levels of chlorpyrifos in 70.5% of the mothers’ blood and 87.5% in their babies’ blood samples.

And, according to the study’s authors, babies including the unborn are much more prone to this organophosphate pesticide. This is depressing!

On April 13, 2017, Dow Chemical’s legal team filed letters to 3 agencies who are handling the chlorpyrifos issue, particularly for endangered species and animals, saying that the scientific findings against chlorpyrifos were “not reliable”. These 3 agencies in question were:  the National Marine Fisheries Service, the Department of Commerce, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Such letters were sent by Dow because earlier government studies showed that chlorpyrifos offers serious risks to 97% of endangered animals in the U.S.

The EPA’s recent biological studies showed that chlorpyrifos is most likely going to negatively impact 1,778 of the 1,835 plants and animals which even include endangered or threatened species of fish, birds, mammals, frogs, etc.

So now that you know how large a mountain we need to move to ban this pesticide from the market, what do you think we should do to work in that direction? Do you have any ideas on this? Share in the comments section below.

Image by Artist / CC0 1.0