EPA released an order on March 29 denying in full the petition requesting that the agency revoke all tolerances for chlorpyrifos. EPA now will move forward on updating and revising the human health assessment for chlorpyrifos under the standard procedures of the ongoing registration review process.
The petition was based on information from epidemiological studies conducted by researchers at the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health (CCCEH). The investigators would not release their data to EPA for independent review and the National Cotton Council (NCC) along with other agricultural stakeholders were unable to access the data from the studies in order to analyze it or assess its accuracy.
Three separate Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act Scientific Advisory Panels (SAPs) were convened on the issue and all three SAPs questioned EPA’s shift to the use of certain epidemiological study outcomes rather than the standard use of toxicological data in human health risk assessments. The SAPs also identified multiple scientific concerns with the CCCEH study that questioned the validity of the researchers’ interpreted conclusions and cautioned EPA against using such studies for the basis of regulatory decisions, particularly without access to the study data.
Sheryl Kunickis, director of USDA’s Office of Pest Management Policy, said, “This is a welcome decision grounded in evidence and science…This frees American farmers from significant trade disruptions that could have been caused by an unnecessary, unilateral revocation of chlorpyrifos tolerances in the United States.”
NCC President/CEO Gary Adams said, “We are pleased that EPA has decided to rely on the scientific weight of evidence that is based on the tried and true toxicological methods used for other pesticides. We will continue to cooperate with the agency by providing information that we have that can assist in their science-based assessments of health and environmental risks.”