The Environmental Protection Agency was ordered Thursday to ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos by a federal appeals court.
The ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is a major win for environmentalists and health advocates, who lost a ban effort last year when former EPA director Scott Pruitt rejected the ban.
Chlorpyrifos, which is a pesticide initially developed as a nerve gas during World War II, has been linked to neurological and developmental disorders, particularly in children.
The environmental groups sued in 2007 to revoke its registration as a legal pesticide. The EPA failed to take any action, despite its own internal studies that documented safety risks.
The 2017 EPA order “maintaining chlorpyrifos is vacated, and the case is remanded to the EPA with directions to revoke all tolerances and cancel all registrations for chlorpyrifos within 60 days,” wrote Judge Jed Rakoff, a visiting judge from New York. He was joined by Judge Jacqueline Nguyen.
The majority held that the EPA’s decision in 2017 to maintain a tolerance for the pesticide in the face of 20 years of scientific evidence that its residue on food causes neurodevelopmental damage to children is “flatly inconsistent” with the law, Rakoff said.
In dissent, Judge Ferdinand Fernandez would have held that the appeals court had no jurisdiction to overturn the EPA.
Case: Lulac v. Wheeler, No. 17-71636