EPA approves continued heavy spraying of neurotoxic pesticide that causes brain damage in children The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released an assessment detailing the health and environmental risks associated with the pesticide chlorpyrifos, a chemical developed by Dow AgroSciences in 1965 that’s widely sprayed on a variety of crops. The EPA’s report, released on December 31, updates the June 2011 preliminary human health risk assessment based on new information. The report acknowledges that chlorpyrifos poses a notable threat particularly “to workers who mix, load and apply chlorpyrifos pesticide products.” The report also notes the potential of chlorpyrifos to contaminate drinking water: “When used in large amounts in small watersheds in certain geographic areas, chlorpyrifos also shows potential risks from drinking water.” Mainly due to its toxicity in children, chlorpyrifos was banned for use in homes more than a decade ago, except in containers with treated baits. However, today it’s still widely used by the agricultural industry to kill a variety of pests including rootworms, cockroaches, beetles, fire ants and many other insects. The organophosphate insecticide is applied to golf courses and is registered for direct use on some animals, including turkeys and sheep. Chlorpyrifos has also been used to treat dog kennels and is a common ingredient in dog shampoos, flea sprays and collars. In the agriculture industry, chlorpyrifos is applied to beets, wheat, cotton, peanuts and vegetables, as well as apples and grapes. In 2004, an estimated 2.3 million pounds[PDF] of chlorpyrifos was sold in California. More