The Trump Administration forced the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reverse in four years much of the progress made by the EPA over decades, leading to existential crises in public health, environmental racism, climate change, and biodiversity. President Biden sought to address this in his Executive Memorandum (EM) Modernizing Regulatory Review issued on his first day in office but the EPA has not yet adopted a new direction for regulating pesticides.
- Challenge so-called “benefits” of pesticides – Current law requires the EPA to weigh risks against benefits when registering pesticides. Claimed “benefits” for toxic pesticides need to be judged in comparison to organic production.
- Protect pollinators – Many agricultural pesticides are killing pollinators outright, making them more susceptible to parasites and disease, and destroying their habitat.
- Protect workers – Farmworkers are at greatest risk from pesticide exposure. In deciding on “acceptable” risks, exposure assessments inevitably discount the impact on workers, people of color, and those with preexisting health conditions or comorbidities.
- Protect biodiversity – According to Science, roughly a quarter of the global insect population has been wiped out since 1990. Monarchs are near extinction and beekeepers continue to experience declines that are putting them out of business. It is likely that the declines we are seeing in many bird species are closely linked to insect declines.
- Get rid of endocrine-disrupting pesticides – .
Despite the Congressional mandate in the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996 (FQPA), EPA is not acting on endocrine disruptors linked to infertility and other reproductive disorders, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and early puberty, as well as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and childhood and adult cancers.
- Get rid of neurotoxic pesticides that harm children – Pesticide exposure can adversely affect a child’s neurological, respiratory, immune, and endocrine system, even at low exposure levels. The American Academy of Pediatrics wrote, “Epidemiologic evidence demonstrates associations between early life exposure to pesticides and pediatric cancers, decreased cognitive function, and behavioral problems.”