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Oregon Attorney General Joins Lawsuit Against EPA Use Of Toxic Pesticides

<p>Ellen Rosenblum is sworn in as attorney general for the state of Oregon on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017.</p>

Conrad Wilson


Ellen Rosenblum is sworn in as attorney general for the state of Oregon on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017.

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum Friday joined a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency for allowing a toxic pesticide in food.  

Rosenblum joined eight other attorneys general in the lawsuit filed last month in the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The lawsuit is challenging the EPA’s decision to continue using the toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos in food, even though the agency has not determined if the pesticide is safe — which is required by law.

A news release from Rosenblum states years of research have shown the pesticide can harm infant and child neurological development.

Studies have also shown that children born to women exposed to the pesticide during pregnancy had “cognitive and motor development delays in the first three years,” the news release states.

“It is really alarming that the Trump Administration is disregarding the law by allowing a toxic pesticide that is dangerous to young children and infants to be used in our national food stream,” Rosenblum said. “Every one of us eats food that comes from around the country, so until the EPA can show this pesticide is safe, there should be a national ban.”

Rosenblum also notes that farmworkers, their families and others living nearby farms “bear the disproportional brunt of this toxin.”

The EPA proposed regulations to stop using the pesticide on food crops in 2015 and 2016, but then-EPA administrator Scott Pruitt issued an order delaying any decision-making until October 2022, Rosenblum said.

The pesticide is one of the most widely used insecticides in the country on food crops like apples, strawberries, cherries and other fruits.

The original lawsuit was led by the New York attorney general, and joined by attorneys general of California, Washington, Massachusetts, Maryland and Vermont. Along with Rosenblum, attorneys general in Hawaii and the District of Columbia also joined the lawsuit Friday.

Copyright 2019 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Meerah Powell is a general assignment and breaking news reporter for OPB. She previously worked as a news reporter and podcast producer for Eugene Weekly in her hometown of Eugene, Oregon. Along with writing and audio work, Meerah also has experience with photography and videography. She graduated from the University of Oregon's School of Journalism and Communication.