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US Court Deems EPA's Ban on Insecticide Chlorpyrifos Arbitrary, Drawing Praise from Farmers for Upholding Science-based Regulations

Farmers and Agriculture interest groups in the USA are applauding the ruling of the United States Court of Appeals Eighth Circuit of November 2, 2023 in which the Court vacated the US EPA’s ban on the use of popular insecticide Chlorpyrifos on Food crops.

KJ Staff
Representational image
Representational image

While giving its decision the Court also observed that EPA disregarded its own scientists’ findings on uses of Chlorpyrifos while determining safety and efficacy of the product.

Earlier in 2002, agriculture groups including Sugar Growers Association; Soybean Growers Associations; Fruits & Vegetable Associations, and Soybean Growers Associations etc filed a lawsuit against EPA’s banning of Chlorpyrifos which restricted them from using the product on crops, where the groups also highlighted high benefits and low risk of the tool for agricultural uses and appealed to review and vacate EPA’s ban order of chlorpyrifos.

The decision of the court was also hailed by the Farming community all over the world, as Chlorpyrifos is a broad-spectrum product used in Farming and Public Health and is one of the cheapest products available to Farmers all over the world. Chlorpyrifos is the most effective product against migratory Locust attacks and is recommended by FAO/WHO.

The Farm groups and growers’ associations of sugarbeet, soybean, wheat, cherry, and cotton groups in the USA applauded the Court’s ruling which they observed rightly served relief, as growers experienced higher costs in protecting their crops from pests.  In the absence of chlorpyrifos, growers were compelled to resort to using multiple pesticides without getting the desired effectiveness.

Growers were eager to restore the use of chlorpyrifos in the 2024 growing season, as they have suffered losses in 2022 and 2023 and the US court’s ruling is timely.

Heads of Farm Groups and Growers Associations in USA appreciated the ruling of the Court which now helps them use this most economically viable and effective product to control pests on their crops.

India is one of the largest manufacturers and users of Chlorpyrifos with present production of around 20,000 M.T.  Indian farmers have used this cheapest and affordable product on multiple crops since 1977 without any adverse impact reported on human and animal health and the environment. The hazard classification of Chlorpyrifos by various regulatory authorities worldwide remains unchanged despite its first registration in 1965. Chlorpyrifos is still described as comparatively low mammalian toxicity, a non-skin irritant, not a skin sensitizer, non-mutagenic and non-carcinogen.

The ruling by the US Court of Appeals Eighth Circuit is important and gives the right directions to regulatory authorities all over the world including India, as any move to restrict or ban the use of Chlorpyrifos will harm the interests of Farmers.

To access and read the ruling of US Eighth Circuit Court, please click the link - https://www.fb.org/imgz/Chlorpyrifos-Opinion-Vacating-Final-Rule.pdf.

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