Mr. Toxicity Zaps America

America’s all-time-leading heartless anti-science zealot EPA Administrator Scott “Mr. Toxicity” Pruitt, as of March 2017, nixed his own agency’s proposal of 2015 to ban the toxic chemical chlorpyrifos, an insecticide that attacks the nervous system of pesky insects, as well as pesky and non-pesky people (the Nazis invented it for germ warfare). It’s sprayed on crops of foodstuff that ends up in grocery stores.

All of which brings to mind, how in the world does the Trump group, from A-to-Z, remain in power, one of the great enigmas of all time. By all appearances, so far nobody has the backbone, the guts to throw ’em in the gutter, back to their lifeblood.

Chlorpyrifos is no longer patent protected. It is now the active ingredient in dozens of pesticide products made by companies such as Bayer and BASF. More than 80,000 people submitted comments to the EPA urging the agency to ban chlorpyrifos from use on all crops immediately.1

Here are the results of a major study of chlorpyrifos by researchers at Columbia University:

Conclusions: We report evidence of deficits in Working Memory Index and Full-Scale IQ as a function of prenatal CPF exposure at 7 years of age. These findings are important in light of continued widespread use of CPF in agricultural settings and possible longer-term educational implications of early cognitive deficits.2

Further, that’s just for starters, “Based on the harm that this pesticide causes, the EPA cannot, consistent with the law, allow it in our food,” said Patti Goldman, a lawyer with Earthjustice, citing a number of studies that have demonstrated the harmful effects of the pesticide in humans.”3

“It’s been banned from household use for more than a decade, but it’s still used by farmers on citrus trees, strawberries, broccoli, and cauliflower. The residue may be found on produce in supermarkets.”4

What! Why is it banned from household use but still okay for foods purchased by households? Can Mr. Toxicity answer since he took it upon himself for approval? Doubtful at best.

“Jim Jones, a former assistant administrator of the EPA who was in-charge of pesticide regulation: ‘But, once we cracked that nut, and you had the risk evaluated and in front of you, it became, in my view, a very straightforward decision, with not a lot of ambiguity in terms of what you would do,’ he told National Public Radio. ‘I just don’t know what basis they would have to deny the petition [to ban chlorpyrifos], given the vast scientific record that the EPA’s got right now.

It is no spoof that the vast scientific record is lodged with an EPA that is mandated to protect American citizens from stupid harmful products. And in truth, Mr. Toxicity nixed a proposed ban by his own agency’s scientists utilizing that “vast scientific record” to recommend prohibition. The operative question therefore can only be: Should Mr. Toxicity be tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail… just for starters? That’s how history says society dealt with charlatans.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, exposure to chlorpyrifos can cause a range of symptoms including nausea, vomiting, headaches, dizziness, seizures, and paralysis.

Not only that, according to the EPA’s own studies, expected residues of chlorpyrifos on food crops exceed the safety standard under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

Steadfast, Mr. Toxicity and Dow AgroSciences remain confident in the use of the chemical, assuming quantity is well regulated, then safe, even though used specifically to kill living things. Jeepers Creepers! Let’s spray!

Although, according to Scott Faber Sr. VP at Environmental Working Group, Dow AgroSciences itself makes safer alternatives, confirmed by Dow. Still and remarkably, really-really remarkably, considering Dow’s confirmation of safer alternatives, chlorpyrifos is the most widely used insecticide in the country. Registered uses include apples, lettuce, peaches, and potatoes. Go figure!

“There’s simply no way EPA could reach any conclusion other than it should no longer be used on food crops,’ Faber said. ‘What’s outrageous about Scott Pruitt’s decision is that the science is so strong, so overwhelming, that chlorpyrifos causes neurological problems.”5

Political malevolence is spreading across the land from shore to shore like dreaded plague ever since the Trump confidence game turned lose on the most naïve voting block in the history of the republic, but fading fast on a pathway to a crazy ugly mélange of mass disembowelment at their own hands.

How it feels to be victimized, bamboozled is rapidly becoming America’s new legacy for the world to chew on.

  1. “EPA Urged to Ban Widely-Used Pesticide Chlorpyrrifos”, Environment News-Washington, DC, January 5, 2016. []
  2. “Seven-Year Neurodevelopmental Scores and Prenatal Exposure to Chlorpyrifos, a Common Agricultural Pesticide,” Environ Health Perspective, 119:1196-1201, April 2011. []
  3. Dom Galeon and Abby Norman, “The EPA Approves the Continued Use of a Harmful Chemical in Pesticides”, Futurism, Earth & Energy, March 30, 2017 []
  4. Ibid. []
  5. Susan Scutti, “EPA Won’t Ban Pesticide Chlorpyrifos: Is It Safe?” CNN, March 30, 2017. []

Robert Hunziker (MA, economic history, DePaul University) is a freelance writer and environmental journalist whose articles have been translated into foreign languages and appeared in over 50 journals, magazines, and sites worldwide. He can be contacted at: rlhunziker@gmail.com. Read other articles by Robert.