Chlorpyrifos on Track to Poison Birds and People for Next 5 Years

American Bird Conservancy’s Statement on EPA Pesticide Reversal

Contact: Cynthia Palmer, American Bird Conservancy, 202-888-7475

Horned Lark, one of hundreds of bird species affected by use of chlorpyrifos. Photo by Middleton Evans

Horned Lark, one of hundreds of bird species affected by use of chlorpyrifos. Photo by Middleton Evans

(Washington, D.C., March 30, 2017)  "We're disgusted by Mr. Pruitt's decision to yield to corporate interests, given the dangers posed by chlorpyrifos to birds, children, and agricultural workers,” said Cynthia Palmer, Pesticide Program Director at American Bird Conservancy (ABC).

Chlorpyrifos, one of the most-used pesticides in the United States, has been killing birds and poisoning the environment for the past half-century. Because of those risks to wildlife and to human health, ABC has been calling for a ban on the use of chlorpyrifos for years. Environmental Protection Agency scientists agreed and were on course to ban the pesticide this month.

But late yesterday, EPA chief Scott Pruitt rejected the conclusion of the agency's own pesticide experts, who had recommended that EPA forbid use of the pesticide permanently at farms nationwide. Rebuffing a petition filed by environmental groups a decade ago, Mr. Pruitt took “final agency action,” which may not be revisited until 2022.

Studies show that women and children are particularly at risk from exposure to chlorpyrifos. ABC is also very concerned about the documented threat chlorpyrifos poses to birds, especially to endangered species. This past summer, EPA's draft biological evaluation on threatened and endangered species found that chlorpyrifos is “likely to adversely affect” 97 percent of all wildlife, including more than 100 listed bird species.

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