The Struggle to Ban Pesticides That Disrupt Brain Development

Science for the Public: Contemporary Science Issues and Innovations
July 05, 2022, Belmont Media Center, Belmont MA

Philip J. Landrigan, MD, MSc, FAAP, Director, Program for Global Public Health and the Common Good; Director, Global Observatory on Planetary Health Professor of Biology, Schiller Institute for Integrated Science and Society, Boston College

For decades, Dr. Landrigan and other distinguished scientists appealed to the EPA to ban chlorpyrifos and other pesticides known to impair brain development. The clear link between chlorpyrifos and developmental brain disorders such as ADHD alarmed pediatricians and scientists –but not the representatives of the agricultural dynasty. Chemical companies were able to block regulations on this and other harmful pesticides and toxins repeatedly. This struggle to protect pregnant women, children, and industrial farm workers has raised the question: Who does the EPA protect? In this discussion, Dr. Landrigan recounts the protracted effort of scientists to ban chlorpyrifos, and he explains why EPA and other regulatory agencies must be independent from political and corporate pressure.