Chlorpyrifos is a pesticide used to kill a number of pests on animals, crops, buildings, and in other settings. This pesticide is also used against worms for these areas. Chlorpyrifos acts on the nervous system of pests and worms as it inhibits the acetylcholinesterase enzyme. It is also blamed for killing at least twenty-five children in India. This dangerous pesticide has also recently been associated with the development of autism when pregnant women are exposed to the chemical.
What is Chlorpyrifos?
Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate insecticide. When in its pure form, this insecticide is made from colorless or white crystals. The odor resembles a skunky smell, much like that of rotten eggs or garlic. This product is used to control a number of pesty insects, including mosquitoes, termites, and groundworms.
What Products Contain Chlorpyrifos?
Chlorpyrifos is found in agricultural products, which are fed to livestock, food crops, and in the tags placed in the ears of cattle. They are used on golf courses to control mosquitoes and fire ants as well as for public health purposes. Chlorpyrifos is also used in products that treat utility poles and wood fences.
How Does Chlorpyrifos Work?
Chlorpyrifos is harmful if it is eaten, inhaled, or touched. It works by shutting down a stimulant that oversees messages between nerve cells. If this stimulant is shut down, the nervous system cannot send signals. When the nervous system cannot send signals, it malfunctions, and this is what kills the pests.
People can be exposed to Chlorpyrifos by either eating, breathing, or getting it on their skin or in their eyes. Exposure can come from applying the product as part of a job or going into public areas outside of your home that uses the insecticide. If you are using a bait station to catch pests in your home, and it contains Chlorpyrifos, you could be exposed.
People can also be exposed to Chlorpyrifos if their well water becomes contaminated. This contamination can happen if products using Chlorpyrifos are used near the well for the control of termites.
What are the Symptoms When Exposed to Chlorpyrifos?
Chlorpyrifos will affect the nervous system of pets, people, and other animals the same way in which it is targeted to control pests. Symptoms, when exposed, can appear in minutes or hours after coming into contact with it. The effects of the exposure can last days and sometimes weeks. During the time symptoms are being experienced, the body is attempting to replace the depleted enzymes in the nervous system so it can function normally. If exposed to a small amount of Chlorpyrifos, you may experience:
- Increase in saliva or drooling
- Tearing of the eyes
- Runny nose
- Excess sweating
If you encounter a more serious exposure, you may experience:
- Abdominal cramps
- Twitching in your muscles
- Sense of weakness
- Become unbalanced or lose coordination
- Darkened or blurry vision
A severe poisoning or more substantial exposure may lead to:
- Loss of bladder control
- Loss of bowel control
- Difficulty breathing
How Exposure of Chlorpyrifos Affects the Human Body
When Chlorpyrifos enters the human body, it will affect all parts or body systems. Chlorpyrifos in itself is not toxic; the danger occurs when your body attempts to break it down that it creates a toxin. In the toxic form, it binds to enzymes, which control the messages your nerve cells send to each other. When too much of this toxic binds to the enzymes, the nerves can no longer function properly. Your body will have to make more enzymes to counter this effect. Your body's normal elimination process will excrete the unbound Chlorpyrifos within a few days, but those that bind themselves in your nervous system stay much longer.
Research conducted on women who were exposed to Chlorpyrifos during pregnancy showed their children with Chlorpyrifos in their blood experienced more developmental delays and disorders than children without exposure. Exposed children displayed more attention deficit disorders and hyperactivity disorders.
Children have proven to be more sensitive to the pesticide than adults. This sensitivity is because their bodies break down pesticides differently than adults. They are also more likely to be exposed as while they play; they put their hands in their mouth more frequently. Another factor making children more sensitive is because they have more surface area of skin for their body size.
What Effect Does Chlorpyrifos Have on the Environment?
If Chlorpyrifos seeps into the ground, it will take weeks to years for all of it to break down. Chlorpyrifos in the ground can be broken down by ultraviolet light and chemicals in the soil. PH levels and the temperature of the soil affect how long it will take for Chlorpyrifos to leave the ground. It will take much longer to break down in soil that is acidic or basic soils.
Once Chlorpyrifos seeps or gets into the ground, it sticks to soil particles very firmly. The roots of plants do not usually pick it up, and they cannot easily get into the groundwater. It can wash into rivers and streams if there is erosion in the area, which will move the soil.
Does Chlorpyrifos Affect Wildlife, Fish, or Birds?
Chlorpyrifos is extremely toxic to a lot of bird species, such as pigeons and grackles. It is also moderately toxic to others, such as mallard ducks. Studies done on mallard ducks that had been fed Chlorpyrifos were shown to lay fewer eggs and raised few ducklings. The eggshells from these ducks were not as thick as usual, and many ducklings died. Robins had proven to be the most affected by this material when they fed on it and were often found dead in the area.
Chlorpyrifos is also extremely toxic to aquatic invertebrates and fish. It can build up in their tissue and in the smaller animals that eat them. It is also very toxic to bees. This insecticide can poison non-targeted insects for up to twenty-four hours after an application. Chlorpyrifos can be toxic to earthworms for up to two weeks after an application to the soil where they live.
Why Has a Ban Been Issued for Chlorpyrifos?
Studies have been done on Chlorpyrifos, which started shortly after it was introduced that showed it was dangerous for people to be in close proximity to this pesticide. The use of this material was banned from being used in homes in 2000 when the Dow Company took it off the shelves from markets. This action was done voluntarily by the company, though the pesticide can still be found in insect baits. (This removal was later reversed)
Golf courses where pests are often a concern, still use this pesticide as well as farmers who use it on nearly fifty crops. Many of these crops include oranges, which we consume every day, and they are used in cattle ear tags, which are also a product we consume. Chlorpyrifos is a nasty and belongs in the same class of chemicals as sarin gas. This class is called organophosphates.
Organophosphates are a group of chemicals used to poison mammals and insects. They are the most widely used insecticide on the market today. Organophosphates are mainly used in the agriculture industry as well as in gardens, veterinary practice, and homes.
This insecticide is one type of pesticide, which works by damaging an enzyme in the body called acetylcholinesterase. This enzyme is vital for controlling nerve signals in the body. When there is damage to the enzyme, it kills pests, but may also cause side effects to humans who are exposed to it.
Chlorpyrifos is basically a nerve agent as it attacks chemical pathways and causes a breakdown in the ability of nerves to communicate as they should in the body. Dangerous exposure to this pesticide can come by eating, inhaling, or getting it on your skin.
Since the 1970s, there have been studies performed to show the effects of insecticides on humans and animals. These studies show that Chlorpyrifos affects living things on different levels. It is extremely toxic to birds and insects, especially bees. It has been proven to be very toxic to fish and is moderately toxic to humans. In recent studies, there is now a link being made to small children who have exposure to Chlorpyrifos in that they are developing lower IQs, autism, and developmental issues.
The Dow Chemical Company introduced Chlorpyrifos in 1965 to be used in farms and homes, and it proved to be an excellent deterrent to just about any insect. Farmers, homeowners, municipalities and golf courses sprayed it often. It can be found anywhere, and not just the United States. The use of Chlorpyrifos has spread around the globe.
The Environmental Protection Agency is now being asked to ban the use of this insecticide, which counters a reversal in 2017 of the Obama administration's 2015 efforts to get rid of this dangerous poison.
Why There is a Push to Ban Chlorpyrifos
Staple foods across the country, such as wheat, citrus fruits, apples, and corn, have been sprayed with Chlorpyrifos for more than half a century. This pesticide is dangerous to children as it can damage their developing brains causing reduced IQ, attention deficit disorder, loss of working memory, and autism.
Agencies, such as Earthjustice, have urged the United States Environmental Protection Agency to ban the use of Chlorpyrifos as it has been proven to harm humans, wildlife, and our water systems. Earthjustice has spent years in the courts and presented oral arguments to request that Chlorpyrifos be banned from all food uses.
The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has not banned this material and has allowed this brain-damaging pesticide to stay in our vegetables and fruits. The lead attorney with Earthjustice finds this a tragedy that a protection agency is siding with corporations instead of the children in our country.
There is a growing body of evidence that proves prenatal exposure to even low levels of Chlorpyrifos can harm a baby permanently. In studies that have followed real-world exposure of mothers and their babies to Chlorpyrifos, show their disabilities are linked to the pesticide.
Those living in agricultural communities and farmworkers, and particularly children, are affected by Chlorpyrifos, this toxic pesticide. Food exposures and drinking water in these areas can both become contaminated, so these people are getting hit with drift exposures. It affects daycares, schools, playgrounds, homes, and where they work.
The USDA conducted tests on citrus fruits and melons where Chlorpyrifos had been used and found the residue of pesticides on these fruits even after being washed and peeled. The United States sprays Chlorpyrifos on more than half of all broccoli and apples grown in the country. There is also extensive use of it for soybean and corn crops.
What are the Laws Regarding Pesticides and Chlorpyrifos?
A report released in 1993 by the National Academy of Sciences heightened Congress's protection for children from pesticides. The NAS (National Academy of Sciences) criticized the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for treating kids like little adults as they failed to address the susceptibility between children and exposure to pesticides based on what they ate, where they played, and their sensitive stages of development.
The Food Quality Protect Act of 1996 requires the EPA to protect children from unsafe exposures to pesticides. The Act requires EPA makes sure with reasonable certainty that there will be no harm to infants and children from exposure to pesticides. The EPA is not allowed to consider industry costs when considering the necessary protection children need from harmful pesticides. The Act basically states, that under the law, the EPA is to ban the use of a pesticide if they cannot ensure the safety of children when exposed to it.
Lawsuits Against the EPA and Chlorpyrifos
Earthjustice states the EPA has repeatedly found Chlorpyrifos is unsafe for children. Time and time again, this agency has refused to protect the children with their refusals to ban the pesticide. The law and science call for Chlorpyrifos to be banned, and it is Earthjustice's hope that the courts will finally force this ban for the sake of the children and farmworkers. Earthjustice and advocates from seven states are battling the current administration to get a ban on Chlorpyrifos.
Growers in California have become concerned about losing the ability to use Chlorpyrifos as the State began the process to ban the pesticide in 2018. New York legislators passed a bill, which Governor Cuomo's signature is needed to ban the use of Chlorpyrifos and make the ban law. Hawaii also passed a bill to ban Chlorpyrifos in 2018.
In July, responding to a court deadline, the EPA stated Chlorpyrifos is still allowed for use as an insecticide for vegetables and fruits, even though there are studies showing exposure to this dangerous pesticide is linked to autism, attention disorders, and reduced IQ. Chlorpyrifos and other pesticides had been banned from all homes for nearly two decades. In 2015, the EPA considered banning it from food crops, but after Trump took office, the EPA refused to finalize the ban. The reasoning behind not completing the ban is that the EPA feels the science behind the dangers is unresolved.
Dow Company and Chlorpyrifos
In 1960 the Dow Company patented Chlorpyrifos and released it as a multipurpose insecticide for a multitude of residential and agricultural purposes. It was marketed for use from riding a home's pets from fleas to protecting agricultural crops from mites. The trade name for this pesticide is currently Lorsban, Cobalt, and Lock-On. The product was also marketed for residential and industrial use under Dursban.
This pesticide targets and lethally disrupts the nervous system of its prey. It was created to rid gardens and homes of mites, ants, cockroaches, and vermin. However, with continuous use, the doses make humans vulnerable to its effects.
Exposure to people can be created in a variety of ways. Families who live near farmlands that use Chlorpyrifos to spray their fields are affected when applications are sprayed on the fields. The chemicals from the pesticide can also find their way into water supplies. Even those who do not live near farms can be affected by the residue that remains on the vegetables and fruits that were sprayed.
Multiple studies have been conducted to show that prolonged exposure to Chlorpyrifos affects neurodevelopment in fetuses and young children. This exposure leads to a high risk of developing autism and ADHD. The EPA also has detailed risks of exposing infants and pregnant women to this pesticide. They agree there is a link between young children and Chlorpyrifos and the development of autism, and problems with motor skills, memory, and attention.
The Dow Company disputes these findings. They state that the weight of evidence of years consisting of scientific study continues to demonstrate a lack of evidence pointing to a link between Chlorpyrifos and any type of health concern. Dow is funding their own research to counter the growing consensus on how there may be ill effects of this lucrative chemical.
Even though there have been dangers established, it is still uncertain that Dow will be banned from using Chlorpyrifos in the near future. The Dow Company is preparing a long legal battle to make sure Chlorpyrifos stays a marketable product.
Results of Dow Testing on Chlorpyrifos
A new report shows The Dow Chemical Company misrepresented the chemical Chlorpyrifos's harm in studies they submitted to regulators. The Journal Environmental Health's investigation revealed the raw data used in the Dow Company's study. The scientists received the data through public information requests from a Swedish Chemical Agency. The studies were also submitted to the EPA with an identical title.
Using the data from the Dow Company's study, the scientists attempted to repeat the experiments but found they were not designed correctly. In their new report, after attempting to repeat the same tests Dow performed, they concluded the Dow's results hid the findings that the chemical caused brain damage in baby rats.
The Dow Company is contesting this report. They strongly refute the accusations made regarding their tests and the implication that their data was manipulated. The Company further states they conformed to all EPA guidelines, and they have followed all regulations for Australia, Canada, the EU, and the United States.
Goldman, managing attorney for Earthjustice, says the Dow Company has been challenging studies linking their pesticide to children's disorders and mothers exposed to the chemical giving birth to babies with brain disorders. In response to the EPA over the years, and to a brief filed in a lawsuit, Dow argues that lab studies in rats are the primary way to test the neurotoxicity of the insecticide.
Finding the Dow Company's damaging data is just another piece of evidence to throw on the already mountain-sized pile of evidence that shows Chlorpyrifos should be banned from all uses. Other evidence that the Dow Company's data is incorrect is they did not model human brain development in their rat models. There is a growth spurt in the brain development of babies while they are still fetuses, but this growth spurt in rat babies doesn't occur until after they are born. By not testing neurotoxicity in the developing rat baby after they were born, it could not correctly indicate what the results would be to a human brain while still in the fetus stage.
Another misleading fact in Dow's research is that they asserted the chemical was only toxic to the brain at high levels. Researchers found in the raw data where they measured rat pup’s brains shrinking when exposures were low, medium, or high. They did not include this result in their final report.
Researchers did not want to state they found evidence of deliberate misrepresentation; they were only pointing out mistakes made in the report.
Find a Chlorpyrifos Mass Tort Near Me
If you believe you or your child has been harmed in any capacity due to the exposure of Chlorpyrifos, call Consumer Alert Now today. Call us at 800-511-0747, and we will find you the legal representation you will need to fight these large companies and agencies to seek the compensation you deserve. Call today and speak to one of our knowledgeable representatives to discover your rights to compensation for any harm you have suffered.