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Scott Pruitt, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, announced late Wednesday that a widely used pesticide will remain available to farmers, despite agency scientists recommending last year that it be banned due to neurotoxicity risks to farm workers and children.
The pesticide, chlorpyrifos, made by Dow Chemical, is used on tens of thousands of farms in the country to protect dozens of different crops from a variety of insects. However, decades of research following its 1965 debut has found that the pesticide can harm the human respiratory, cardiovascular, and nervous systems.

Animal and human studies have linked exposure to declines in learning and memory. When chlorpyrifos was commonly used in household bug sprays, babies exposed prenatally via cord blood showed structural abnormalities in brain regions linked to attention, memory, language, and impulse control.
In 2000, the EPA banned its use from most household products.

The agency also began tightening restrictions on its use on farms.
In 2007, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Pesticide Action Network North America filed a petition to have chlorpyrifos banned altogether.

After more research and some debate from an expert scientific review panel of academic scientists, EPA scientists concluded that chlorpyrifos was causing significant health risks, particularly to farm workers and children, and should be banned.
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