The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which covers seven states in the Western U.S., Alaska and Hawaii, recently ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had until June 30, 2015 to decide whether to cancel the registration for the pesticide chlorpyrifos. The ruling was based on a petition by Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) asking that court to order the EPA to address PANNA’s prior request that it do so [In re Pesticide Action Network N.Am. v. United States EPA, No. 14-72794.] PANNA sought to ban the chlorpyrifos, a pesticide first introduced by Dow Chemical Co., in 1965.

The EPA met the June 30 deadline and agreed to ban this toxic agricultural pesticide unless the companies that sell chlorpyrifos agree to restrict its usage. The EPA decision requires that chemical companies who make the product have to include a product label that addresses harmful drinking water exposures. The EPA will publish more specific rules on the usage of chlorpyrifos by April 15, 2016.

Why Chlorpyrifos Is Dangerous

Chlorpyrifos is classified as an organophosphate, a toxic pesticide. Chlorpyrifos is also know by the names Dursban and Lorsban. Chloropyrifos was banned in 2001 for home use but agricultural use was still allowed. Environmental groups such as PANNA have been trying to ban all usage of chlorpyrifos since 2007.

The agricultural use of chlorpyrifos has fallen due to the greater use of insect-resistant genetically modified corn. Still, chlorpyrifos is still used in amounts between five million and 10 million pounds each year on crops, golf courses and other targets.

The toxicity risk for consumers due to the consumption of agricultural products containing the pesticide is low because the end products contain only trace levels of the pesticide are too small to cause negative effects. The real danger is to farmworkers and those who live near the areas being sprayed. The skin can absorb chlorpyrifos which means farmworkers should not go into the sprayed areas for at least 24 hours afterwards. The pesticide can also cause weakness, nausea, headaches, blurred vision and diarrhea.

The long-term effects of chlorpyrifos are not clear. There are studies showing a correlation between increased levels of organophosphate in the womb and neurological harm. In the short-term, the pesticide is also a danger to fish, bees, birds, water and other smaller parts of the ecosystem.

New Jersey Michelman & Bricker, P.C. Environmental Lawyers Understand Toxic Pesticide Issues

New Jersey environmental attorneys at Michelman & Bricker, P.C. understand the EPA’s and the public’s concerns over hazardous substances and can help you navigate federal and state laws regulating such chemicals. Our lawyers assist companies so that their products and services will comply with state and federal environmental laws and provide advice to companies who use regulated chemicals. We previously negotiated a settlement with EPA over pesticide labeling violations on behalf of a paint manufacturer. We have also helped a hair salon to comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) rules on use of hazardous chemicals in hair treatments. We stay on top of the latest rulings in order to provide our clients with the most current information. Any company that is concerned about the compliance issues of its products or any legal environmental issues should contact the firm by phone at 215-557-9440. We also accept contacts through our online submission form. Michelman & Bricker represents clients in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.