Tell Congress: Pass the Protect America's Children from Toxic Pesticides Act!

Finally, we have a groundbreaking opportunity to radically reform pesticide policy in the United States! 

If passed, the Protect America's Children from Toxic Pesticides Act (PACTPA) would mean a comprehensive overhaul of federal pesticide regulations. 

It would put restrictions on pesticide use and registration (including bans on several of the most toxic pesticides such as organophosphates, neonicotinoids and paraquat), and it would create new safety protections for farmworkers.

This legislation is a powerful and transformative opportunity to protect our especially-vulnerable children and farmworkers (as well as all people!), pollinators, and other wildlife from the dangerous effects of toxic pesticides. 

TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress: Pass the Protect America's Children from Toxic Pesticides Act!

kids playing football or soccer in a grassy park

The passage of the bill would immediately ban several of the most dangerous pesticide categories currently in use in the United States. These include: 

• All organophosphates, including malathion and chlorpyrifos, which damage human neurological and cognitive functions. Chlorpyrifos is known to damage childrens’ brain development and contribute to other serious health problems. Chlorpyrifos was going to be phased out by the Obama administration but this decision was reversed by Trump’s EPA. 

• All neonicotinoids, such as imidacloprid, which poison bees and other pollinators, and have contributed to the collapse of pollinator populations around the world.

• Paraquat, one of the most acutely toxic herbicides in the world. It is banned in the European Union; chronic exposure is linked with a 200%-600% increase in the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

In addition to these specific pesticides, the bill would require any pesticide that is banned in the European Union or Canada to be suspended immediately for a thorough review. Among many others, this includes the notorious but widely-used herbicide atrazine, which disrupts hormones and harms developing fetuses.

The bill empowers these actions by significantly strengthening the EPA’s authority under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), the federal law that regulates the distribution, sale and use of pesticides. 

PACTPA would also close dangerous “conditional registration” loopholes, which currently allow pesticide manufacturers to get new chemicals approved and rushed into the marketplace before the EPA has reviewed all the available health and safety science. It would also tighten up “emergency exemption” loopholes, which are intended to allow the short-term emergency use of an otherwise banned or restricted pesticide, but which are often abused and become used in a widespread and long-term manner under the excuse of “emergency.” 

PACTPA would allow communities to enact legislation and other policies on the local level to protect themselves from pesticides, without being vetoed or preempted by state law. Currently, preemption laws prevent citizens in many localities from passing any local pesticide regulations that are stronger than those at the state level. In contrast, PACTPA would allow communities to take control over their own health. 

PACTPA would create a petition process whereby individual citizens could petition the EPA to identify and regulate specific dangerous pesticides. By empowering citizen engagement, the EPA would no longer be able to unilaterally allow damaging pesticides to remain on the market indefinitely. 

PACTPA also advances some urgently-needed protections for farmworkers. It requires pesticide labels to be printed both in English and Spanish, as well as in any language spoken by more than 500 pesticide applicators. It also requires employers to report to the EPA any injuries to farmworkers from pesticide exposure, and it requires the suspension of a pesticide when it causes a death of a farmworker.

The compounding human health and environmental crises related to the massive usage of toxic pesticides tell us that change is urgently needed.

TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress: Pass the Protect America's Children from Toxic Pesticides Act!

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