Court: EPA violated law on harmful popular pesticide, orders ban

Gardener applying an insecticide fertilizer to his fruit shrubs, using a sprayer

WASHINGTON – A federal appeals court says the Trump administration endangered public health by keeping the top-selling pesticide chlorpyrifos on the market despite extensive scientific evidence that even tiny levels of exposure can harm babies’ brains.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to remove chlorpyrifos from sale in the United States within 60 days.

A coalition of farmworkers and environmental groups sued last year after then-EPA chief Scott Pruitt reversed an Obama-era effort to ban chlorpyrifos, which is widely sprayed on citrus fruits, apples and other crops.

In a split decision, the court said EPA violated federal law by ignoring the conclusions of agency scientists that chlorpyrifos is harmful.

The pesticide is sold by Dow Agro Sciences and others.