Toxic Chemical Chlorpyrifos was Banned from Household Use Nearly 20 Years Ago, But is Still Widely Used as a Pesticide on Fruits and Vegetables

Exposure to Low Levels of Chlorpyrifos Early in Life Can Lead to Increased Risk of Learning Disabilities, Including Reductions in IQ, Developmental Delay, and Behavioral Problems Such as ADHD

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, today introduced an amendment to this year’s Senate Farm Bill that would prohibit the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from purchasing produce for school meals that contains even low residue levels of the pesticide chlorpyrifos. Chlorpyrifos is particularly harmful when consumed by children. Scientists from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have recommended a ban on the pesticide.

“The EPA determined that chlorpyrifos was too dangerous for household use nearly two decades ago, but it is still being used on the fruits and vegetables we give to children in public schools. This is outrageous,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I am proud to introduce my amendment to ban this toxic pesticide from produce in our schools, and I will continue doing everything in my power as a Senator to protect our children. I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this important amendment to keep our children healthy and safe.”

Chlorpyrifos is a powerful organophosphate pesticide, widely used since the 1960s. The EPA banned household use of this chemical in 2000, but more than five million pounds of the pesticide are still applied annually across the United States to a variety of crops including apples, oranges, broccoli, berries, and tree nuts.