Chlorpyrifos Pesticide Use

The Environmental & Energy Law Program is tracking the environmental regulatory rollbacks of the Trump administration. Click here for the list of rules we are following

Current Status

On April 5, 2017, EPA formally denied a petition by environmental groups to ban all food applications of the pesticide and stated it will delay reassessment until the statutory deadline of October 1, 2022. On April 5, 2017environmental groups filed a motion with the Ninth Circuit asking the court to enforce EPA’s deadline to respond to their petition to ban the chemical, arguing EPA presented no new evidence that the chemical was safe. On June 5, 2017, NRDC and other environmental groups, as well as seven states, filed an administrative appeal with EPA “challenging the agency’s failure to finalize the ban on chlorpyrifos.” The Ninth Circuit appeal was rejected on July 18, 2017.

On December 29, 2017, The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issued a Biological Opinion on chlorpyrifos, concluding that its use jeopardizes dozens of threatened and endangered species. EPA Administrator Pruitt said he has asked NMFS to reconsider this opinion. On March 23, 2018, EPA opened a comment period on the Biological Opinion “to inform their request to reopen the consultation or to inform their implementation of mitigation measures,” according to Patti Goldman of Earthjustice. The comment period was first opened through May 22, 2018, but has been extended to July 23, 2018. 

Why it Matters

Chlorpyrifos is a highly toxic organophosphate pesticide used since 1965 on food and oil crops, and cotton – and on golf courses. It is the most widely used conventional pesticide in the United States. Over time, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has narrowed the acceptable uses for this pesticide, as research revealed serious health and ecological risks. For instance, in 2000, the EPA banned the use of chlorpyrifos for household use (except for child-resistant ant and roach traps) and on tomatoes.

Click here learn more about the history of this rule and actions that have been taken on it by the Trump Administration.

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