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Company to stop making pesticide linked to neurological damage in children

Company to stop making pesticide linked to neurological damage in children

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The manufacturer of a pesticide used on dozens of crops such as strawberries and corn — and which has been linked to neurological damage in children — announced Thursday that it will stop producing the controversial product.

The move by Corteva Agriscience to discontinue chlorpyrifos by the end of the year marks a significant victory for public health and environmental advocates, who have fought for years to get it off the market amid evidence of its health risks.

The Trump administration has declined to ban the chemical. The Environmental Protection Agency had proposed revoking all uses of the product in 2015 after scientists determined that existing evidence did not meet the agency’s threshold of a “reasonable certainty of no harm.”

In the absence of federal action, several states have moved to ban the pesticide. Thursday’s announcement comes on the same day that California, a leading agricultural state, made it illegal to sell chlorphyrifos. Under an agreement reached last fall between the state and pesticide manufacturers, sales ended Thursday.

Corteva, which was spun off last year after a breakup of the chemical conglomerate DowDupont, has continued to stand by the safety of chlorpyrifos, which has been on the market since 1965.

Corteva described its decision as a financial one, saying demand for the product is less than 20% of what it was at its peak in the 1990s.

While Corteva is the largest manufacturer of chlorpyrifos, a handful of other companies also produce the pesticide.

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