EPA Scientists Say This Pesticide Damages Kids’ Brains, but the EPA Won’t Ban It

Scientific research shows that a popular pesticide may damage children’s developing brains, but EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt doesn’t seem to care.

A new report from the Associated Press reveals that Pruitt made the decision to roll back an Obama-era plan to ban the pesticide after meeting with the CEO of Dow Chemical, the company that makes it. Pruitt’s schedule confirms that he met with CEO Andrew Liveris for half an hour just 20 days before making the decision.

The EPA denies that Liveris and Pruitt discussed the pesticide when they met.

A “Do Not Enter” sign marks a field of head cabbage during the spraying of pesticides near Chualar, Calif., Monday, Sept. 16, 2002. State reports of pesticide poisonings among farmworkers are declining, but labor advocates say that tougher state laws and more enforcement are needed to adequately protect the people picking and packing crops. (AP Photo/Mike Fiala)

A previous review from the EPA concluded that Dow’s chlorpyrifos pesticide, which is commonly sprayed on produce, can interfere with the neurological development of infants and fetuses, even when ingested in the smallest amounts. Traces of the chemical may also be found in drinking water sources, and under President Barack Obama the agency proposed banning it.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Environmental Working Group voiced their concerns about the pesticide in a letter to Pruitt.

“The risk to infant and children’s health and development is unambiguous,” said the organizations in their letter. “We are deeply alarmed by EPA’s decision not to finalize the proposed rule to end chlorpyrifos uses on food—a decision that was premised on the need for further study on the effects of chlorpyrifos on children before finalizing a rule.”

The EPA has denied accusations that corporate pressure dictated Pruitt’s decision.