Seattle filed a lawsuit Wednesday over President Donald Trump's executive order that threatens to withhold federal funds from communities that refuse to cooperate with efforts to find and deport immigrants in the.
EPA has, however, "kicked the can down the road" to some extent on the key science issue - whether EPA appropriately evaluated epidemiology studies which reported that exposures to the pesticide had adverse neurological impacts on infants and children - an issue that affects not only chlorpyrifos, but the other organophosphates (OP) that EPA has concluded are subject to a Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) 10X factor based on these studies.
Chlorpyrifos has been used in the United States since 1965, but it was banned for indoor and home applications in 2000.
"The chance to prevent brain damage in children was a low bar for most of Scott Pruitt's predecessors, but it apparently just wasn't persuasive enough for an administrator who isn't sure if banning lead from gasoline was a good idea, " said EWG President Ken Cook.
This decision by EPA under the Trump Administration to deny the petition is not surprising, given the rhetoric of reducing regulatory burdens and the need to stop regulatory "overreach" by agencies like EPA which has been accused of making politically driven decisions.
For half a century, the chemical, also known as lorsban, has been used on dozens of crops including corn, strawberries and citrus.
"Based on the harm that this pesticide causes, the EPA can not, consistent with the law, allow it in our food", says Patti Goldman, an attorney with the environmental advocacy group Earthjustice. In 2007, Dow was notably banned from doing business in India for five years and fined by the US Securities and Exchange Commission for bribing Indian officials to fast-track permits for pesticides despite health concerns, including chlorpyrifos (which used the brand name "Dursban").
Some of that evidence against chlorpyrifos came from a study by researchers at Columbia University who measured the levels of this chemical present in the umbilical cords of newborn babies.
While the study was going on, the ban on indoor uses of chlorpyrifos came into effect.
The law on pesticides is very strict: It requires "a reasonable certainty that no harm will result" to consumers or people living in the areas where pesticides are applied.
In October 2015, EPA proposed to revoke all uses of chlorpyrifos on food. "Today's decision means children across the country will continue to be exposed to unsafe pesticide residues in their food and drinking water".
Dow Chemical, which makes chlorpyrifos, has long maintained the chemical's safety (and maintains a website, chlorpyrifos.com, where it questions the integrity of academic research and promotes the chemical as safe).