For nearly 50 years, a statistical omission tantamount to data falsification sat undiscovered in a critical study at the heart of regulating one of the most controversial and widely used pesticides in America.
Chlorpyrifos, an insecticide created in the late 1960s by the Dow Chemical Co., has been linked to serious health problems, especially in children. It has been the subject of many lawsuits and banned in Europe and California. The EPA itself nearly banned the chemical, but in 2017 the Trump administration backtracked and rejected EPA’s own recommendation to take chlorpyrifos off the market. The EPA plans to reconsider the chemical’s use by 2022.
In February, the largest producer of chlorpyrifos, Corteva Agriscience (which owns Dow), said it would stop making the chemical because of slumping sales, not out of safety concerns. Corteva has kept up a running defense of the chemical.
So, while chlorpyrifos can still be used on some agricultural products, the chemical appears to be approaching the end of its long run.
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