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Update to the toxic pesticide acephate story of last week. Well, well, well.... Due to the big outcry after ProPublica's story exposing EPA's recent decision to relax standards and so allow much more of the toxic pesticide acephate in our food, the officials at the EPA changed their minds and now propose banning it! 

Acephate is an insect killer commonly used on celery, lettuce, cauliflower, tomatoes, peppers, and other fruits and vegetables, and residues stay on produce that we eat. It also contaminates drinking water. (It's used on non-organic crops, but it's not allowed to be used on organic crops.)

Propublica's story broke on April 24, 2024, and immediately afterwards there was outrage over the EPA's relaxing of the pesticide standards decision. This is because the FDA was totally ignoring years of scientific and medical research showing harms to humans, and only accepting and believing what the pesticide industry told them. It even ignored its own scientists and advisory groups.

Acephate is a pesticide known to be so harmful that it was BANNED in Europe more than 20 years ago, yet allowed in the US. A major reason: harmful effects on the developing brains of fetuses and children, and linked to autism, hyperactivity, and reduced scores on intelligence tests. In 2023, the CDC said that autism spectrum disorder rates have now increased to 1 out of every  36 births.

Now we wait and see: Will the FDA (once again) cave to industry or actually do what they are supposed to do - protect consumers? 

ProPublica is a non-profit investigative journalism site. The following are excerpts from their May 1, 2024 story on the FDA reversal. From ProPublica: EPA Proposes Ban on Pesticide Widely Used on Fruits and Vegetables

The Environmental Protection Agency unveiled a proposal this week to ban a controversial pesticide that is widely used on celery, tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables. ...continue reading "The EPA Reverses Course and Now Proposes Banning Toxic Pesticide"

Once again the EPA is about to let us down - by not protecting us (the consumers) and giving in to big business. Against the advice of scientists and scientific advisory panels, the EPA is about to really relax standards for the toxic pesticide acephate.

This pesticide is an insecticide (kills insects) used on food crops, such as celery, lettuce, peppers, and tomatoes. So when you eat non-organic produce, you will also be ingesting the pesticide. But... studies find it is linked to neurological harms (e.g., autism, reduced scores on intelligence tests, hyperactivity). It also causes harms to bees and other pollinators, fish, and other mammals.

How could this happen? The EPA is only relying on industry studies (notorious for being biased) and ignoring independent studies that find harms. The EPA is proposing allowing 10 times more on foods  than is now allowed. Meanwhile, the European Union (EU) banned acephate 20 years ago!

The EPA also proposed relaxing standards for a similar pesticide - malathion. Nope, nope, nope - for all the same reasons .

Excerpts from the investigative news site ProPublica on April 24, 2024: 10 Times as Much of This Toxic Pesticide Could End Up on Your Tomatoes and Celery Under a New EPA Proposal

When you bite into a piece of celery, there’s a fair chance that it will be coated with a thin film of a toxic pesticide called acephate.

The bug killer — also used on tomatoes, cranberries, Brussels sprouts and other fruits and vegetables — belongs to a class of compounds linked to autism, hyperactivity and reduced scores on intelligence tests in children. ...continue reading "The EPA Proposes Relaxing Standards For A Toxic Pesticide"