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August 16, 2018
Court Orders EPA to Revoke all Chlorpyrifos Tolerances and Registrations; EPA Reviewing Next Steps

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit last week ruled in a 2-1 decision that the EPA must revoke all food tolerances and cancel all registrations for the pesticide chlorpyrifos within 60 days. This ruling stems from the Trump administration’s decision to deny a longstanding petition from environmental activists. The administration cited a lack of data on potential adverse health effects. 


A statement from Corteva Agriscience, a manufacturer of chlorpyrifos, said “Chlorpyrifos is a critical pest management tool used by growers around the world to manage a large number of pests, and regulatory bodies in 79 countries have looked at the science, carefully evaluated the product and its significant benefits and continued to approve its use. We note that this was a split decision of the panel and we agree with the dissenting judge’s opinion. We expect that all appellate options to challenge the majority’s decision will be considered. We will continue to support the growers who need this important product.” 


The statement also said all uses and tolerance remain intact until the EPA makes a final decision, and the EPA “has options to challenge this decision.” 


The ruling is expected to have a wide-ranging impact on the agriculture industry. Chlorpyrifos is used in more than 50 fruit, nut, cereal and vegetable crops including apples, almonds, oranges and broccoli, with more than 640,000 acres treated in California alone in 2016. 


The original petition was filed in 2007 by the Pesticide Action Network North America and the Natural Resources Defense Council. As a result, the Obama administration’s EPA proposed to revoke all food tolerances for chlorpyrifos. NAAA met with EPA to discuss its proposed decision on the chlorpyrifos ban and submitted comments to keep chlorpyrifos on the market for aerial application. NAAA communicated to EPA that our industry mitigates drift now better than ever. Additionally, NAAA explained to the EPA that the agency had misinterpreted the Food Quality Protection Act and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act by trying to establish a standard of “absolute certainty that no harm will result” from a pesticide instead of a standard of “reasonable certainty that no harm will result.”


NAAA also stressed concern that EPA justified revoking tolerances for chlorpyrifos in part by relying on a secret study from Columbia University where important data points were not made available to EPA or anyone else for review.


Regarding the court’s recent ruling, an EPA spokesman said, “EPA is reviewing the decision. The Columbia Center’s data underlying the Court’s assumptions remains inaccessible and has hindered the Agency’s ongoing process to fully evaluate the pesticide using the best available, transparent science.”

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This newsletter is intended for NAAA members only. NAAA requests that should any party desire to publish, distribute or quote any part of this newsletter that they first seek the permission of the Association. The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent those of the National Agricultural Aviation Association (NAAA), its Board of Directors, staff or membership. Items in this newsletter are not the result of paid advertising and are only meant to highlight newsworthy developments. No endorsement by NAAA is intended or implied.
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