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By Ana B. Ibarra, California Healthline, and Kaiser Health News
Legislators In several states, attempts are being made to ban a widely used pesticide that the Environmental Protection Agency for has to fight the market.
The pesticide Chlorpyrifos kills insects on contact by attacks on the nervous system.
Several studies have linked prenatal exposure of chlorpyrifos to lower birth weights, lower IQs, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and other developmental problems in children. But the EPA in 201
Hawaii was the first state to issue a total ban last year. Now California, Oregon, New York and Connecticut are trying to do the same.
If California succeeds, the rearguard action could have a big impact.
"If California succeeds, it's a big deal because it's a big state – the largest agricultural state," said Virginia Ruiz, director of work and environmental health at the nonprofit Farmworker Justice in Washington, DC  Earlier this year, Congressional Democrats also introduced bills to ban the pesticide nationally Experts believe that states are more likely to succeed than Congress, and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (DN.Y.), who is running as president, has last Week presented a separate bill prohibiting schools from serving pesticide-sprayed fruit and vegetables.
"I do not see this as something we should see or debate," said Irva Hertz-Picciotto, an epidemiologist and director of the Environmental Health Sciences Center of the University of California-Davis.
Hertz-Picciotto said on April 10 at a California Senate hearing against California's law banning the use of the pesticide. She said more than three dozen studies have shown an association between prenatal exposure to chlorpyrifos and developmental disorders, including symptoms of autism.
"No study has identified a level at which we can consider it safe," she told legislators.  Nearly two decades ago, the EPA, which regulates pesticides at the federal level, has removed chlorpyrifos for residential use from the market. However, the chemical is still used on crops such as citrus fruits, almonds and grapes, as well as golf courses and other non-agricultural facilities.
Several companies worldwide produce Chlorpyrifos products. In the US, the most prominent brand names are Dursban and Lorsban, manufactured by Corteva Agriscience, formerly known as Dow AgroSciences.
Under the administration of President Barack Obama, in 2015, the EPA proposed a complete ban on chlorpyrifos for health risks. But in 2017, Scott Pruitt, President of the EPA of President Donald Trump, rejected a ban.
"Despite several years of study, the science that deals with the effects on the development of the nervous system is still unresolved," says the EPA on its website. The Agency did not return any requests for comments.
Last summer, the 9th US Court of Appeals completely ordered the pesticide from the market. The EPA opposes this decision.
"The EPA disagrees with the findings of its own scientists," said Aseem Prakash, director of the University of Washington's Environmental Policy Center.
Prakash accused the EPA of serving the interests of the chemical industry for human health.
"It's bizarre," he added. "We have the research."
The manufacturers see it differently. Carol Burns, a retired epidemiologist for the Dow Chemical Company, who began producing chlorpyrifos in 1965, is now a consultant for Corteva Agriscience. Burns said during the US Senate hearing that many studies link neurodevelopmental problems in children to chemical compounds known as organophosphates, but not specifically to chlorpyrifos.
"Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate, but not all organophosphates are chlorpyrifos," she said. The science is not clear.
In addition, some of these studies focused on children born in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Since then, children are less exposed to the chemical due to the increasing restrictions on their use, Burns said.
Neither Corteva Agriscience nor the California Farm Bureau Federation would comment on this story.
Chlorpyrifos may be inhaled during use and as it drifts into nearby areas or is taken up as food. Humans can also be exposed to their drinking water when their wells are contaminated.
A brief exposure may cause dizziness, nausea and headache, while more acute poisoning may result in vomiting, tremors and a loss of coordination, according to the National Pesticide Information Center.
"The EPA disagrees with the findings of its own scientists."
However, long-term exposure is considered more harmful even at low concentrations, especially for young, developing brains. A study by Hertz-Picciotto and other UC Davis researchers in 2014 found that pregnant women living near fields treated with chlorpyrifos had an increased risk of having a child with a disorder, mainly during their second trimester of the autism spectrum.
Fidelia Morales has lived in Lindsay, California, a small town in the Tulare district for 12 years. Her home is surrounded by orange groves, and the stink of freshly-sprayed pesticides often invades her, especially during the summer, she said.
The more she learns about Chlorpyrifos, the more she wonders if it's relevant to her 11 – the son's behavioral problems. His teachers regularly complain about his inability to concentrate in class and sit still, she said. In the fourth grade he read in the second grade.
"When I was pregnant, I went to the groves – I had no idea that I could expose myself and my baby," she said. "The irony is that I partly left Los Angeles to escape the pollution. I had no idea that I ended up getting worse somewhere.
Morales wants to have the pesticide banned.
But during the hearing of the health committee, the farmers said the state had already restricted the use of chlorpyrifos by the pesticide regulatory department, and all additional restrictions should be left to the department. 19659006] Based on the Department's earlier recommendations, all California counties this year agreed to impose strict restrictions on the use of chlorpyrifos.
Limitations include an airborne spray ban For soil-based applications, farmers can not use the pesticide within 150 months Walking the streets of homes, businesses and schools, the Department sees the pesticide as "toxic air pollution" and believes the new restrictions will reduce its use, said spokeswoman Charlotte Fadipe.
The use of chlorpyrifos in the United States is Declined by half in the last decade, she said. 19659006] Angel Garcia, an organizer of the community in the Tulare county with the Californians for Pesticide Reform group, said the new restrictions are not strict enough.
Those who are at greatest risk are mostly low-income people who live in color agricultural land, he said.
The restrictions "do not create significant health protection," he said.
This story was produced by Kaiser Health News (KHN), which published . California Healthline an editorially independent service to the California Health Care Foundation . KHN is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.