Trump’s EPA Gives Big Gift to Dow Chemical While Putting Children at Risk

Trump’s EPA is allowing a toxic pesticide onto our food, our water, our schools, our yards, and our bodies. Now, Earth Justice is taking them to court. In a move that will put almost anyone who comes into contact with many common foods at risk, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has refused to ban the toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos.

For the Trump administration, children of farm workers don’t rank as high as Dow Chemical, the main manufacturer and defender of the toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos. Perhaps the Senate, in its hearing on Scott Pruitt’s nomination to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), should have questioned Pruitt as the chief pediatrician for America’s children. As head of the EPA, Pruitt gets to decide what is safe for our kids, in the air they breathe, the water they drink, the food they eat and the communities they play in. Senators didn’t ask, but now, they are finding out.

In his first big test of what kind of pediatrician he will be, Pruitt decided to reverse an earlier EPA decision to ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos, a potent nerve gas banned from household use years ago, but still used in farms, orchards, pastures and golf courses. We can’t help but ask why the EPA has decided to make this very surprising, and frankly, shocking decision. WHY would the EPA retract a ban on a substance that is proven to cause long term developmental problems in children? We dug deeper… DOW Chemical is not just any chemical company. Dow gave $1 million to Trump’s inaugural committee. This was followed by Trump naming Dow CEO, Andrew Liveris, to head his manufacturing council, keeping in regular contact with each other.

Pesticides have been used for decades on our crops and foods, some of which have been found to have potentially devastating effects on our bodies and minds, specifically in children! Some of the devastating effects and symptoms of exposure to  Chlorpyrifos have been found to increase a child’s chance of birth defects, autism, deficits in attention, memory, and even intelligence. A snippet from Wikipedia describes Chlorpyrifos as follows:

“Chlorpyrifos is a crystalline organophosphate insecticide, acaracide and miticide. It was introduced in 1965 by Dow Chemical Company and is known by many trade names including Dursban, Lorsban, Bolton Insecticide, Nufos, Cobalt, Hatchet, and Warhawk. It acts on the nervous system of insects by inhibiting acetylcholinesterase.

Chlorpyrifos is one of the most frequently cited causes of farm-worker pesticide poisoning but is particularly toxic to young children and the fetus. Organizations like the Nature Resources Defense Council petitioned the EPA to implement a simple requirement of federal pesticide law: that any pesticide must be shown to be safe before use. In 2015 the agency said it intended to ban it but didn’t finalize the decision. Eventually, courts ordered EPA to make a final decision on the ban and Pruitt decided to ignore the science.

He did not do so because he asserted that chlorpyrifos was safe; he simply said that there were uncertainties.  Farmers were now entitled to continue to use the chemical, exposing farm workers, their children, surrounding communities, and consumers of food sprayed with the chemical, to a pesticide whose safety is, at best, highly dubious in quantities up to 14,000 times the safe level.

“We need to provide regulatory certainty to the thousands of American farms that rely on chlorpyrifos, while still protecting human health and the environment,” Pruitt said. That’s not the message you would expect to hear from a pediatrician if you asked him if you should give your kids foods laced with a potent neurotoxin that has been shown to damage their mental development. Right?

For us as consumers, one of our biggest concerns should be focused on corporations, and even governments, making more decisions based on money, profit, and control, rather than making those decisions based on what is best for humanity. One of our strongest deep-rooted driving forces in life is to survive, to self-preserve. Unfortunately, sometimes, that same driving force can lead individuals and corporations alike to make decisions that are morally and ethically wrong.

If these are the types of decisions that are going to be made for us and our health, we can only imagine what’s coming next! If you haven’t yet, take your diet and your health into your own hands. Maybe growing that garden patch in the back yard isn’t such a bad idea after all!

Urge your elected officials to ban chlorpyrifos


[1] Alternet [2] Earth Justice