Senator Cory Booker has introduced legislation to reform the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), which regulates the registration and use of pesticides. This important bill addresses some of the most harmful aspects of the current law by banning the most damaging pesticides that have been scientifically proven to harm people and our environment.
Each year, the United States uses over a billion pounds of pesticides — nearly a fifth of worldwide use. Once they’re approved, pesticides often remain on the market for decades, even when scientific evidence overwhelmingly shows a pesticide is causing harm to people or the environment.
Please join the Pollinator Pathway in supporting the Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act of 2021.
Our partners at Beyond Pesticides are making it easy to have your voices heard on this issue.
Approximately one-third of annual U.S. pesticide use — over 300 million pounds from 85 different pesticides — comes from pesticides that are banned in the European Union. The pesticide regulation statute, the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act of 1972 (FIFRA), contains many loopholes that put the interests of the pesticide industry above the health and safety of people and our environment.
Specifically, the bill, the Protect America's Children from Toxic Pesticides Act of 2021 (PACTPA), would provide some desperately needed improvements to FIFRA to better protect people and the environment, including:
1. Bans some of the most damaging pesticides scientifically known to cause significant harm to people and the environment:
Organophosphate insecticides, which are designed to target the neurological system and have been linked to neurodevelopmental damage in children;
Neonicotinoid insecticides, which have contributed to pollinator collapse around the world (the European Union and Canada have significantly restricted or banned their use to protect pollinators and other wildlife) and have recently been shown to cause developmental defects, heart deformations, and muscle tremors in unborn children;
Paraquat, which is one of the most acutely toxic herbicides in the world—according to the EPA, just “one sip can kill.” Science has shown that chronic exposure to paraquat increases the risk of developing Parkinson's disease by 200% to 600%. It is already banned in 32 countries, including the European Union.
2. Restores balance to protect ordinary citizens by removing dangerous pesticides from the market by:
Creating a petition process to enable individual citizens to petition the EPA to identify dangerous pesticides so that the EPA would no longer be able to indefinitely allow dangerous pesticides to remain on the market;
Closing dangerous loopholes that have allowed the EPA to issue emergency exemptions and conditional registrations to use pesticides before they have gone through full health and safety review by the agency;
Enabling local communities to enact protective legislation and other policies without being vetoed or preempted by state law;
Suspending the use of pesticides deemed unsafe by the E.U. or Canada until they are thoroughly reviewed by the EPA.
3. Provides protections for frontline communities that bear the burden of pesticide exposure by:
Requiring employers of farmworkers to report all pesticide-caused injuries to the EPA, with strong penalties for failure to report injuries or retaliating against workers;
Directing the EPA to review pesticide injury reports and work with the pesticide manufacturers to develop better labeling to prevent future injury;
Requiring that all pesticide label instructions be written in Spanish and in any language spoken by more than 500 pesticide applicators.
The FIFRA law currently permits the unnecessary dispersal of toxic chemicals into the environment. To protect pollinators and people, we join our partners at Beyond Pesticides in calling for Congress to go further in reforming FIFRA and to:
1. Prohibit the registration and use of pesticides that do not meet these criteria:
Necessary to prevent harm to humans and the environment based on an analysis of all alternatives;Cause no harm to humans and the environment; and
Protect against the existential crises of biodiversity collapse, runaway climate change, and chronic and acute health threats.
2. Require all supporting data to be submitted and examined by the public before registration (including the elimination of conditional registration).
3. Deny and cancel all pesticide registrations not supported by studies demonstrating a lack of endocrine-disrupting effects.
4. Deny and cancel registrations of all pesticides posing a threat to life in the soil—and hence threatening the climate.
5. Deny and cancel registrations of all pesticides posing a threat to any endangered species.
A list of the organizations endorsing the Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act can be found The full text of the legislation can be viewed here.