The federal government's top fisheries experts say that three widely used pesticides — including the controversial insecticide chlorpyrifos — are jeopardizing the survival of many species of salmon, as well as orcas that feed on those salmon.
It's a fresh attack on a chemical that the Environmental Protection Agency was ready to take off the market a year ago — until the Trump administration changed course.
Chlorpyrifos is widely used by farmers to protect crops like strawberries, broccoli and citrus fruit from insect pests. In recent years, though, scientists have found evidence that exposure to chlorpyrifos residues can harm the developing brains of small children, even in the womb.
Two years ago, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a proposal that would have stopped farmers from using chlorpyrifos. The final decision, however, fell to the Trump administration, and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt decided to keep the chemical on the market while the agency continues to study its risks.
This new report, however, examines another danger entirely — the risk that chlorpyrifos and two other pesticides, diazinon and malathion, are washing into streams and rivers and harming wildlife.