Jan 08, 2015

EPA Revised Chlorpyrifos Assessment Shows Health Risk

The public comment period will be open for 60 days, beginning the day of publication in the Federal Register

pollution control, regulations,  chlorpyrifos, pesticides

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is releasing an assessment for public comment on the potential for human health risk of the pesticide chlorpyrifos.  

This assessment shows some risks to workers who mix, load and apply chlorpyrifos pesticide products. When used in large amounts, chlorpyrifos has the potential to pose risks in limited geographic areas when drinking water from small watersheds.  There were no additional risks from pesticide exposures in food or exposures to bystanders and workers from airborne chlorpyrifos. The latest USDA pesticide residue data show no concerns for chlorpyrifos in food, with the pesticide detected in less than 1% of samples.

Based on the results of the risk assessment, additional restrictions may be necessary to ensure that workers who use or work around areas treated with chlorpyrifos are protected and that drinking water sources are protected. The agency will now begin work on measures to reduce these risks.

In 2000, EPA banned household uses of chlorpyrifos, with the exception of ant and roach bait in child-resistant packaging. Between 2000 and 2002 EPA cancelled the use of chlorpyrifos on tomatoes and restricted use on crops including apples, citrus and tree nuts. In 2012, EPA imposed “no-spray” buffer zones around public spaces, including recreational areas and homes, and significantly lowered pesticide application rates.

The assessment updates the June 2011 preliminary human health risk assessment based on new information received, including public comments. EPA factored in exposures from multiple sources including from the exposures from food and water, from inhaling the pesticide and through the skin. EPA considered all populations including infants, children, and women of child-bearing age. EPA incorporated information from a 2012 assessment of spray drift exposure and as well as new restrictions put into place to limit spray drift.

EPA is also assessing the ecological risks from chlorpyrifos in conjunction with the agency’s Endangered Species Protection Program; Results are expected later in 2015.

View EPA’s revised risk assessment