In March 2017, one of the first orders of business for the freshly confirmed EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt was to lift the ban on the pesticide, chlorpyrifos. Caving to the demands of their swampy benefactors, Pruitt announced they would lift the ban, rejecting the findings of scientists at the EPA. From the New York Times in March 2017:
Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, moved late on Wednesday to reject the scientific conclusion of the agency’s own chemical safety experts who under the Obama administration recommended that one of the nation’s most widely used insecticides be permanently banned at farms nationwide because of the harm it potentially causes children and farm workers.
Mega-corporation Dow Chemical had lobbied to lift the ban and so it was done. The ban was lifted despite evidence it caused “significant health consequences” for farm workers and young children exposed to it in drinking water. Almost immediately after the ban was lifted, dozens of California farmworkers became extremely ill after a nearby farmer sprayed chlorpyrifos on his orchard. From the New York Times:
For 37 mostly female farm-workers in California’s Central Valley, U.S. policy under Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt became personal not long after sunup one day in May 2017.
Picking cabbage that morning, the workers noticed a tarry smell drifting from a nearby orchard. Mouths and lips tingled or went numb. Throats went dry. Soon some workers were vomiting and collapsing.
The farmer “misapplied” the chlorpyrifos to his crops. Is there any doubt this would be banned if it were affecting suburban Republican voters and their children? Exposing these farm workers and their young children to a harmful pesticide is environmental racism at its worst.