Chemical companies ask EPA to kill pesticide risk study

Chemical companies ask EPA to kill pesticide risk study
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Three companies that make and market organophosphate pesticides have asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to scrap the findings of research showing harm to animal species from their products.

Lawyers for Dow Chemical Co., whose CEO, Andrew Liveris, sits on President Trump’s manufacturing council, joined two other companies in the request last week to the EPA and two other agencies assisting in the process, The Associated Press reported Thursday.

The letters dated April 13 characterize the federal research as fundamentally flawed, and ask the Trump administration to “set aside” the results that could lead to large-scale restrictions in the use of the pesticides.

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The pesticides at issue — chlorpyrifos, diazinon and malathion — were found to harm about 1,800 endangered or threatened species, according to the thousands of pages of research gathered over four years.

EPA head Scott Pruitt last month reversed course from the Obama administration by refusing to ban the use of chlorpyrifos on plants meant for human consumption. Researchers have found a link between exposure to the pesticide and brain growth problems in children, conclusions that Dow and its allies disagree with.

An EPA spokesman said the agency would not prejudge any potential decisions regarding the pesticides.

“We have had no meetings with Dow on this topic and we are reviewing petitions as they come in, giving careful consideration to sound science and good policymaking,” EPA spokesman J.P. Freire told the AP. “The administrator is committed to listening to stakeholders affected by EPA’s regulations, while also reviewing past decisions.”

Dow AgroSciences, the unit of the company responsible for pesticides, told the AP that the federal government did not use the best available science in its reviews.

“Dow AgroSciences is committed to the production and marketing of products that will help American farmers feed the world, and do so with full respect for human health and the environment, including endangered and threatened species,” it said in a statement to AP. “These letters, and the detailed scientific analyses that support them, demonstrate that commitment.”