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Court orders EPA to ban pesticide harmful to children’s brains


    Demonstrators at the state Capitol, April 9, urged the Hawaii Senate to vote in favor of a bill that would more tightly regulate restricted-use pesticides and phase out chlorpyrifos. A federal appeals court today ordered the Trump administration to revoke approval for a widely used pesticide that studies show can harm the brains of children.

SAN FRANCISCO >> A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals gave the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 60 days to ban chlorpyrifos, a pesticide initially developed as a nerve gas during World War II.

The 2-1 decision stemmed from a 2007 petition by two environmental groups to prevent the chemical from being used on food.

The groups cited studies that found children and infants who had been exposed prenatally to low doses of chlorpyrifos suffer from reduced IQ, attention deficit disorders and delayed motor development that lasts into adulthood.

“The EPA failed to take any decisive action in response to the 2007 petition, notwithstanding that the EPA’s own internal studies continued to document serious safety risks associated with chlorpyrifos use, particularly for children,” the panel said.

The Trump administration decided last year to keep the pesticide on the market.

In June, Hawaii became the first state in the U.S. to ban chlorpyrifos after Gov. David Ige signed SB 3095 into law after years of efforts by local advocates, including the Hawaii Center for Food Safety. In addition to banning chlorpyrifos, the bill requires a 100-foot, no-spray buffer zone around schools and requires large-scale pesticide users to disclose the amount of Restricted Use Pesticides that they are spraying.

The Star-Advertiser contributed to this report.

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