Court rejects EPA ban on pesticide linked to brain damage in children

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On Thursday, a federal appeals court threw out an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ban on a pesticide linked to brain damage in children.

The Eighth Circuit’s decision to remand this rule to the agency does not preclude the agency from reinstating the ban in the future.

But the EPA said more consideration is needed to determine whether there are cases in which the insecticide, called chlorpyrifos, is safe to use.

Chlorpyrifos is used as an insecticide to protect crops such as soybeans, broccoli, cauliflower, and fruit trees.

The EPA banned the use of chlorpyrifos in food cultivation in 2021. This comes after a previous court ruling gave the EPA just 60 days to find a safe use for chlorpyrifos or ban it completely.

The appeals court found that this deadline ultimately led to a hasty EPA decision that was “arbitrary and capricious.”

The ruling was written by Justices Lovensky Smith, Raymond Gruder, and David Strass, two of whom were appointed by former President George W. Bush and one of whom was appointed by former President Trump.

The chlorpyrifos issue has bounced back and forth between administrations. The Obama administration had proposed banning its use in food, but the Trump administration had reversed course and proposed allowing some uses of the chemical.

The court’s decision drew cheers from Republicans, including Sen. Kevin Cramer (R.N.), who called it “a victory for our nation’s farmers” in a written statement.

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