A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that the Environmental Protection Agency violated the law by allowing the sale of chlorpyrifos, a pesticide that has been shown to harm the brains of babies. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also ordered the agency to stop the sale of the chemical in 60 days. Farmworkers and environmentalists sued last year when then-EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt halted an attempt to ban the use of chlorpyrifos on food. “The panel held that there was no justification for the EPA’s decision in its 2017 order to maintain a tolerance for chlorpyrifos in the face of scientific evidence that its residue on food causes neurodevelopmental damage to children,” wrote Judge Jed S. Rakoff in the majority opinion. Dow Chemical Co. created chlorpyrifos in the 1960s and sells 5 million pounds of it in the U.S. each year. It is chemically similar to a Nazi chemical warfare agent, according to NBC News. Pruitt said last year that studies on whether chlorpyrifos is harmful are inconclusive.
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