EPA bans chlorpyrifos insecticide – BirdWatching


Loggerhead Shrike is one of many bird species that depends on insects for food and will benefit from the upheld ban on chlorpyrifos. Photo by Georgia Wilson

This morning, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) upheld its final ruling to ban chlorpyrifos, a gravely harmful organophosphate insecticide. Chlorpyrifos will no longer be used on food crops meant for domestic consumption — a huge victory for bird and human health. The EPA denied all objections to the final rule and requests for stay. 

American Bird Conservancy has worked alongside partner groups including Earthjustice, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Center for Food Safety, United Farm Workers, and the Pesticide Action Network at all levels to ban this chemical.

“The chlorpyrifos ruling is a major victory for migratory birds and their habitats,” said Hardy Kern, director of ABC’s Pesticides and Birds campaign. “ABC has been on the forefront of this fight for many years and is gratified to see the EPA acting to make food, water, and bird habitat safe from chlorpyrifos poisoning.”

Chlorpyrifos has been shown to affect birds’ abilities to fly, migrate, and reproduce. It has also been linked to neurological complications in human adults and infants. 

The ruling, while impactful, does leave a loophole for chlorpyrifos to be used on food crops meant for export. ABC recently sent a letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack thanking them for the final ruling while asking that this loophole be closed.

From 2017: Insecticides toxic to seed-eating songbirds


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