EPA update on Chlorpyrifos

UPDATE: Chlorpyrifos

Seth Dibblee
U.S. EPA – Region 5

Contrary to my presentation one week beforehand at the NCERA 222 meeting in Fargo, ND, on March 29, 2017 EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt denied the petition to revoke all tolerances and cancel all uses for the pesticide chlorpyrifos (Lorsban™ from Dow Agrosciences, among others). Please note that my presentation and handout files for that meeting have been revised accordingly.

As you may recall, Natural Resources Defense Council and Pesticide Action Network-North America filed the petition in 2007. EPA has taken several actions to restrict the use of chlorpyrifos since then, as more data was submitted and reviewed. However, EPA was under a court order to render a final decision on the petition by March 31, 2017.

The chief question after significant review and analysis—including a special review by a Science Advisory Panel convened to provide an opinion on it—was whether chlorpyrifos exposure (at the very low levels currently found in the food supply and drinking water) was sufficiently associated with neurodevelopmental effects in children to revoke its tolerance for food crops. EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) found that, “. . . despite several years of study, the science addressing neurodevelopmental effects remains unresolved and that further evaluation of the science . . . is warranted to achieve greater certainty as to whether the potential exists for adverse neurodevelopmental effects to occur from current human exposures to chlorpyrifos.”

As you might guess, this has been a controversial decision. A 60-day period for objections and requests for hearings is underway; its outcome is unknown at this time. However, the registration review process continues as scheduled for chlorpyrifos, including an assessment of its impact upon endangered species due later this year. Registration review is planned to be complete by October 1, 2022.

OPP has a page on its website with a robust supply of supporting information about chlorpyrifos; see https://www.epa.gov/ingredients-used-pesticide-products/chlorpyrifos .

Please feel free to contact me for questions or for any additional information at (312) 886-5992 or dibblee.seth@epa.gov

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