In 2021 the multi-billion dollar agrochemical industry derailed The Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act (PACTPA), which would outlaw several pesticides linked to catastrophic human and environmental health hazards. Now the bill is getting a second chance.
The bill, recently reintroduced in the Senate, would also change how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) oversees pesticide registration, a process with consequential shortcomings.
“EPA regularly fails to incorporate updated scientific understanding to protect human health and the environment from the harmful effects of pesticide products … resulting in the use of billions of pounds of pesticides every year that were approved based on outdated science,” the bill states.
Organic food production prohibits some of the world’s most toxic chemicals. Eating organic food dramatically decreases a person’s exposure to harmful pesticides, including the ones that would be banned by PACTPA. In conventional farming, the use of dangerous chemicals is commonplace, with devastating effects to the environment and the health of humans, animals, and pollinators.
The people most affected by pesticide exposure are often the least able to protect themselves. Some of the pesticides banned by PACTPA have been linked to brain development issues in children, cancer, endocrine disruption, and prenatal disorders. Prolonged exposure to these dangerous chemicals poses severe health risks to farmworkers, who may not have adequate access to safety warnings and instructions.
Organic farming has shown that we can grow food without using harmful pesticides. A stronger, more resilient food system is one that looks to organic farming for answers instead of the agrochemical industry.
What PACTPA Will Do
- Instruct the EPA to immediately suspend 72 pesticides that are banned or being phased out in the European Union, along with any banned in Canada. These suspensions will become full bans within two years unless an error is proven.
- Close the loopholes that have allowed EPA to approve pesticides under emergency exemptions and conditional registrations before the full safety review is complete.
- Ban all organophosphate insecticides, neonicotinoids and paraquat, an herbicide that has been banned in 58 countries due to its toxicity. Chronic exposure to paraquat significantly increases the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease and can cause brain damage, kidney failure, lung scarring and heart failure.
- Require employers of agricultural workers to report all pesticide-caused injuries to the EPA and impose penalties for noncompliance.
- Mandate English and Spanish label instructions on all pesticides and require additional translations for farmworker populations over a certain size
What You Can Do
- Call your senators and urge them to support PACTPA (suggested text below). Email us and let us know that you did!
- Share this article on social media.
- Buy organic and support a food system without toxic pesticides.
Personalize and shorten this suggested text as you see fit:
I am writing to urge you to endorse the S.269 Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act (PACTPA), reintroduced by Senator Booker in February 2023. PACTPA specifically addresses some of the most egregious deficiencies in US pesticide regulations by imposing an outright ban on several pesticide active ingredients that are extremely dangerous to human and environmental health. PACTPA protects the public against potential health risks associated with the usage of these chemicals, including cancer and other neurological and developmental disorders. PACTPA would close loopholes that have allowed the EPA to use emergency exemptions and conditional registrations to use pesticides even before they go through full safety reviews.
For the safety of our children, families, and farmworkers, please endorse PACTPA and encourage your colleagues in the Senate to do so as well.