The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is taking steps to stop the use of a pesticide called chlorpyrifos. Chlorpyrifos is the most heavily used agricultural pesticide in the country. It’s also one of the most toxic ones. If you have any questions about this ban, keep reading to learn what it means for your health, for your food, and for your family.
The FDA guidance is intended to help food producers and processors who handle foods that may contain residues of the pesticide chemical chlorpyrifos. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a final rule on Aug. 30, 2021, revoking all tolerances for chlorpyrifos; these tolerances are set to expire on Feb. 28, 2022.
Why are they banning chlorpyrifos?
The EPA is banning chlorpyrifos because it’s a toxic pesticide. It has been shown to cause neurodevelopmental and other reproductive disorders in children, and that’s just the beginning of the list of dangers.
Chlorpyrifos is one of the most heavily used agricultural pesticides in the country, and it’s also one of the most toxic ones.
The FDA specifically notes that ingestion of chlorpyrifos can contribute to neurological development impairments in children, as well as other human developmental effects. The guidance is intended to help food producers and processors who handle foods that may contain residues of chlorpyrifos, so they know how to properly manage those chemicals on their farms and in their facilities.
What are the health risks of chlorpyrifos?
The health risks of chlorpyrifos are significant. Because it’s used on crops that are then processed into food products, almost everyone is exposed to this pesticide. The chemical is also toxic to the nervous system, so it can have an impact on your brain function. It’s been associated with lower IQ in children who are exposed to it before they reach three years old, and it has been linked to other serious health effects in the developing body. There is also evidence that chlorpyrifos contributes to autism development in children; it’s not clear if this is because of its neurotoxic effect or because it crosses the placenta during pregnancy.
The EPA says that the “current risk from chlorpyrifos meets our level of concern.” That means there is no amount of exposure that would be considered safe for people. The good news is that you can avoid eating any foods with this pesticide by buying organic produce or choosing fresh foods like fruits and vegetables when possible.
How will this ban affect you?
The ban on chlorpyrifos will only affect the agricultural industry at first. There is a provision in the law which would allow for continued use of chlorpyrifos in and around homes and gardens, but this provision expires in 2022.
What can you do to protect yourself and your family from these toxic chemicals?
If you want to protect yourself and your family from these toxic chemicals, you can start by reading the labels on the foods in your pantry. If you have any questions about whether a product contains chlorpyrifos, call the company that makes it or visit their website. Chlorpyrifos is not allowed to be used for most home gardening, but it’s still allowed on crops grown commercially.
If you are concerned about pesticide residue on food, you can buy organic food products. Organic food is grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides or chemical fertilizers. You may also want to consider buying local produce that has been grown without the use of any pesticides or herbicides. And lastly, if you’re unsure what kind of produce to buy, you can always ask your grocery store employees for their advice.
The decision to ban chlorpyrifos was a big win for public health, but the battle is far from over. Everyday, Americans are exposed to pesticides like chlorpyrifos through residues on food, in drinking water, and through common household products like pet flea treatments.
As the fight continues to protect our kids and families from highly toxic chemicals like chlorpyrifos, it’s essential that we stay informed and take action.
You can help us win the fight against toxic pesticides by speaking out to your local officials about why it’s important to ban these chemicals.