Beyond Pesticides Daily News Blog » Blog Archive Bill to Ban Neurotoxic Chlorpyrifos Introduced in the U.S. Senate

(Beyond Pesticides, July 27, 2017) Earlier this week U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced a bill that would ban use of the insecticide chlorpyrifos. The Protect Children, Farmers and Farmworkers from Nerve Agent Pesticides Act, S. 1624, comes one week after an appeals court refused to require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to make a decision over whether to ban the chemical. Removing this neurotoxic insecticide from the environment would significantly reduce health risks for children and farmworkers in underserved rural communities, build pressure to address all toxic organophosphates, and help push U.S. agriculture in a more sustainable direction.

As with other organophosphate class chemicals, chlorpyrifos, first registered in 1965 by Dow Chemical, is derived from nerve agents used during World War 2. The chemical is linked to a range of negative health and environmental outcomes that warrant its prohibition. Children are at particular risk from the chemical due to their developing immune, organ, and nervous systems.  As with other organophosphate nerve agents, the chemical acts on the body’s nervous system, inhibiting the movement of neurotransmitters called cholinesterase. Chlorpyrifos chemically binds to the site where cholinesterase would in the body, preventing normal nerve impulse transmission. While the outward display of this effect is seen as incessant twitch of the body, the internal effects can lead to long-term decreased motor function, impaired cognition, behavioral disorders, and lower IQ.

Many organophosphates like chlorpyrifos are also endocrine disruptors, which mimic naturally produced hormones, and block hormone receptors in cells. As one may expect, this effect is particular concerning for children. Health risks of endocrine disruptors range from learning disorders to obesity, infertility, early-onset puberty and childhood cancers. These impacts, as shown by an international team of…

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