President Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency is already hurting American farmers shortly after approving the use of a controversial pesticide.
Earlier this year, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt — an avid opponent of the EPA who has sued the agency on multiple occasions — lifting the 2015 ban on chlorpyrifos, a harmful pesticide that’s been scientifically proven to cause nerve damage to children.
Now the damage of that decision is being felt, as dozens of farmworkers have been poisoned in California as a result.
Kern Golden Empire, which reports on the agriculture industry in Kern County, California, reported that those farmers experienced multiple symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and fainting after chlorpyrifos drifted over from a nearby field on May 5.
“Anybody that was exposed, that was here today, we encourage them to seek medical attention immediately. Don’t wait. Particularly if you’re suffering from any symptoms. Whether it’s nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, seek medical attention immediately,” said Kern County Health Department spokeswoman Michelle Corson in a statement to the Golden Empire.
The National Pesticide Information Center describes the dangers of chlorpyrifos to both animals and humans, and suggests that the chemical may actually be even more harmful to humans than it is to wildlife.
For children, exposure to the pesticide could even cause a coma:
Initial signs and symptoms include tearing of the eyes, runny nose, increased saliva and sweat production, nausea, dizziness and headache. Signs of progression include muscle twitching, weakness or tremors, lack of coordination, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and pupil constriction with blurred or darkened vision. Signs of severe toxicity include increased heart rate, unconsciousness, loss of control of the urine or bowels, convulsions, respiratory depression, and paralysis… Commonly reported signs and symptoms in poisonings with children include seizures, flaccid muscle weakness, pupil constriction, excess salivation ,and mental status changes including lethargy and coma.
The Pruitt-led EPA defended lifting the ban based on “serious scientific concerns and substantive process gaps,” and called the decision “sound science in decision-making” in a press release.
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