I respectfully disagree with your Jan. 31 story (“Maryland bill to ban pesticide chlorpyrifos back for third year”). There is zero scientific controversy regarding the severe public health and environmental impacts of the highly toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos, which the Maryland General Assembly is moving toward banning this year.
Before 2017, when the current administration took over the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA scientists had proposed banning chlorpyrifos because it harms children. They based their proposal on dozens of studies finding lower IQs, lower birth weights, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and other developmental issues in exposed children. Of note: HB 229/SB300 — the Maryland 2020 ban bills — are backed by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Maryland State Medical Society. EPA scientists rarely recommend pesticide bans and even more rarely recommend outright bans without exemptions. Their reasoning is clear — this chemical is unsafe at any detectable level.
In the Chesapeake Bay, chlorpyrifos harms blue crabs, smaller crustaceans and insects that are a crucial part of the food web. Political appointees, however, have ignored clear scientific evidence and allow this harmful pesticide to remain on the market. In the meantime, states such as California, New York and Hawaii have banned chlorpyrifos, as has the entire European Union of 27 nations. Other states are also moving to protect their children and the environment, including Oregon and Connecticut.
We call on all Marylanders who care about our children and our bay to urge their state legislators to support the proposed ban on toxic chlorpyrifos.
Project director, Maryland Pesticide Education Network, Bethesda