Call on the Massachusetts Pesticide Board to stop agricultural use of chlorpyrifos
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I am calling on the Massachusetts Pesticide Board Subcommittee to cancel the agricultural product registration for the pesticide chlorpyrifos at its upcoming meeting on November 17, 2017.
Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times, in his article "Trump’s Legacy: Damaged Brains: This is what a common pesticide does to a child’s brain," provides a helpful outline of what is at stake.
He writes: “The pesticide, which belongs to a class of chemicals developed as a nerve gas made by Nazi Germany, is now found in food, air and drinking water. Human and animal studies show that it damages the brain and reduces I.Q.s while causing tremors among children. It has also been linked to lung cancer and Parkinson’s disease in adults.
The colored parts of the image above, prepared by Columbia University scientists, indicate where a child’s brain is physically altered after exposure to this pesticide.
This chemical, chlorpyrifos, is hard to pronounce, so let’s just call it Dow Chemical Company’s Nerve Gas Pesticide. Even if you haven’t heard of it, it may be inside you: One 2012 study found that it was in the umbilical cord blood of 87 percent of newborn babies tested.
And now the Trump administration is embracing it, overturning a planned ban that had been in the works for many years.
The Environmental Protection Agency actually banned Dow’s Nerve Gas Pesticide for most indoor residential use 17 years ago — so it’s no longer found in the Raid you spray at cockroaches (it’s very effective, which is why it’s so widely used; then again, don’t suggest this to Dow, but sarin nerve gas might be even more effective!). The E.P.A. was preparing to ban it for agricultural and outdoor use this spring, but then the Trump administration rejected the ban.
That was a triumph for Dow, but the decision stirred outrage among public health experts. They noted that Dow had donated $1 million for President Trump’s inauguration.
So Dow’s Nerve Gas Pesticide will still be used on golf courses, road medians and crops that end up on our plate. Kids are told to eat fruits and vegetables, but E.P.A. scientists found levels of this pesticide on such foods at up to 140 times the limits deemed safe."
I hope Massachusetts proves a leader on this critical issue. It is in the interest of all citizens—though especially Massachusetts’ children—that chlorpyrifos is banned from statewide agricultural use.
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