The Protect Children, Farmers, and Farmworkers from Nerve Agent Pesticides Act of 2019 (S 921, 116th Congress) aims to both prohibit registration of pesticides with and ban food containing chlorpyrifos. This bill would prohibit the use of chlorpyrifos on food by amending the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. This bill would also prohibit the registration of pesticides containing chlorpyrifos by amending the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.
Congress reports that chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate pesticide that is associated with neurodevelopmental consequences (e.g., lowered IQ, working memory deficits, structural brain changes) in children. Many people can be exposed to chlorpyrifos through residues on food, contaminated water, and drift from nearby pesticide applications. Prenatal exposure to chlorpyrifos is especially problematic, and has been associated with various developmental problems including neurobehavioral and functional deficits. Chlorpyrifos also threatens agricultural workers and families in agricultural communities who are exposed to the pesticide at high levels.
Currently there is no nationwide standard set for reporting chlorpyrifos use. In 2000, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) prohibited residential use of chlorpyrifos was and established no-spray buffer zones of 10 to 100 feet around certain structures including day cares and hospitals. In 2015, the EPA proposed to ban chlorpyrifos on food. That same year, many scientific and medical experts and child health advocates created Project TENDR (Targeting Environmental Neuro-Developmental Risks) to recognize and reduce exposures to chemicals that affect fetal and child brain development. Later, in 2016, the EPA revised the human health risk assessment for chlorpyrifos and stated that chlorpyrifos was unsafe. In 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit stated that the EPA needs to ban chlorpyrifos; however, the EPA appealed the ruling.