Democratic lawmakers propose ban on organophosphate and neonicotinoid insecticides

screen shot at am
Seeds coated with a neonicotinoid insecticide.

Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Colo.) are introducing companion legislation to cancel the registrations of organophosphates and neonicotinoids, classes of chemicals that are used widely on farms and that for years have raised objections from environmental and consumer groups.

Among the organophosphates is chlorpyrifos, which the Trump administration has embraced as a crop treatment following the Obama administration’s moves to ban the chemical. Researchers at EPA and elsewhere have linked chlorpyrifos to brain damage in children. In 2017, then-Administrator Scott Pruitt reversed EPA’s move toward a ban as one of his first official actions, saying the science wasn’t settled but that farmers rely on the pesticide to produce a variety of crops.

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The bill touches on several other aspects of pesticide regulations, in what Udall’s office called the most comprehensive rewrite in 25 years. In addition to public health concerns, the pesticides in questions have implications for farmworkers, a spokeswoman for Udall said. In some cases, countries in the European Union and other places have banned them. The legislation would help the United States catch up to those allies, she said.

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