Environment
In this photo taken Oct. 5, 2014, apples are displayed at a farmers market in Arlington, Va. A common pesticide used on citrus fruits, almonds and other crops would be banned under a proposal announced Friday by the Environmental Protection Agency. The proposal would prohibit use of chlorpyrifos, a widely used insecticide that is sprayed on a variety of crops including oranges, apples, cherries, grapes, broccoli and asparagus.
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In this photo taken Oct. 5, 2014, apples are displayed at a farmers market in Arlington, Va. A common pesticide used on citrus fruits, almonds and other crops would be banned under a proposal announced Friday by the Environmental Protection Agency. The proposal would prohibit use of chlorpyrifos, a widely used insecticide that is sprayed on a variety of crops including oranges, apples, cherries, grapes, broccoli and asparagus.
Credit: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Pesticide linked to brain damage in children faces multi-state lawsuit

Washington and five other states are suing the the Environmental Protection Agency to ban a pesticide linked to brain damage in fetuses and small children.

The pesticide, chlorpyrifos, is widely used in Washington’s apple and pear orchards.

The lawsuit challenges the EPA’s decision in July not to restrict agricultural uses of chlorpyrifos. (The pesticide was phased out of household use in 2000 because of concerns about its health effects.)

Farm worker advocates have also launched a similar lawsuit.

But Washington lawmakers have been quiet on the issue.

“The next logical step is looking to run a bill in the upcoming session to ban this chemical,” said Erik Nicholson, the Tacoma-based national vice president of United Farm Workers. United Farm Workers is one of the groups suing the EPA to ban chlorpyrifos.

“As long as this chemical continues to be applied, farm workers and their children are being put at risk,” Nicholson added.

California, New York, and Hawaii have all taken steps to ban the chemical.