By Tim Jones | Masslive.com
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey has joined attorney generals from five other states to file a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, claiming the agency failed to ban a widely-used pesticide despite evidence of dangers to children.
The multi-state lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Wednesday, claims the EPA allowed continued use of chlorpyrifos on food crops despite evidence of risks.
“Chlorpyrifos acts by inhibiting an enzyme that is key to the proper development and functioning of the central nervous system and brain,” read a statement from Healey’s office.
The EPA made the decision for continued use of the pesticide in July. The pesticide is frequently used on fruits and residue has been found in baby foods and juices.
“Studies have shown that children born to mothers who were exposed to the toxic pesticide during their pregnancy exhibited cognitive and motor development delays in the first three years, and structural changes in the brain, lower working memory and IQ scores at age 7, and movement disorders (including arm tremors) at age 11,” Healey said in a statement.
“The Trump Administration is shamefully putting industry interests above the health of our children and the environment,” Healey said. “We are asking the Court to order EPA to do its job and ban this toxic pesticide from our food.”
The statement added that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt disregarded proposed pesticide regulations from EPA scientists and issued an order putting off a decision on allowable levels of chlorpyrifos residues on food until at least October 2022.
In the lawsuit, Healey requests that the court set aside the July 2019 decision and direct the EPA to stop allowing the pesticide on foods unless it is found safe.
The attorneys general of New York, California, Maryland, Vermont, and Washington joined in the lawsuit. The attorneys general of Hawaii and Washington, D.C. are expected to file a motion to intervene in the lawsuit.
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