Gillibrand announces bill to ban chlorpyrifos residue in school foods

-The Hagstrom Report

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee who is running for president, today announced a new bill to eliminate a pesticide, chlorpyrifos, from food in school meals.

Chlorpyrifos is a pesticide that is sprayed on a variety of crops, such as apples, oranges, strawberries, corn and wheat.

In the announcement, Gillibrand noted that several studies have linked early-life exposure to chlorpyrifos to developmental disabilities in children. She pointed out that the Environmental Protection Agency first proposed banning the use of this chemical in 2015, and in 2016, it confirmed that there is enough evidence connecting the pesticide to neurodevelopmental harm in children, even at low levels of exposure, to warrant a nationwide ban of the chemical. This decision was reversed under former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt in 2017.

Gillibrand’s legislation, the Safe School Meals for Kids Act, would restrict schools from purchasing and serving food that contains even the lowest detectable amount of chlorpyrifos, which is 0.001 micrograms per kilogram. The bill would also require the agriculture secretary to review and issue a report of compliance of the threshold every two years for the following 10 years. Gillibrand noted she is also a co-sponsor of legislation to ban chlorpyrifos nationwide.

“As a mother of two young sons, it’s alarming that the food in school meals could contain even a trace of a chemical that could harm students’ development and ability to learn,” Gillibrand said.