Op-ed: Questioning the use of a toxic pesticide

The pesticide chlorpyrifos, a chemical cousin of nerve agents used in World War II, has been shown to impede brain development in children. But the Environmental Protection Agency under President Trump recently decided to reject an Obama-era plan to ban the pesticide.

In a July 25, 2019 op-ed in the Washington Post, Joseph Allen, assistant professor of exposure assessment science at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, wrote that chlorpyrifos has been associated with reduced IQ and working memory, delays in psychomotor development, and autism spectrum disorder in children. Allen called the science “shocking and unambiguous.”

The Trump administration went against decades of advice even from its own scientists in rejecting the chlorpyrifos ban, Allen wrote. In 2016, EPA scientists reported that there are unsafe levels of chlorpyrifos on food crops and in drinking water.

“Let’s cut right to the chase: A war on health is underway, and it is being waged through attacks on the environment,” Allen wrote.

Read the Washington Post op-ed: This pesticide is closely related to nerve agents used in World War II. Trump’s EPA doesn’t care.

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Tracking the use, risks of the pesticide chlorpyrifos (Harvard Chan School news)