A federal appeals court has rejected an effort by farm groups to stay the Environmental Protection Agency’s revocation of food tolerances for chlorpyrifos, which went into effect Feb. 28.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis denied one of the petitions for a stay, citing lack of jurisdiction in the matter because the motion was filed before Feb. 28. 

But the court did rule in a separate petition that the groups' challenge can proceed. 

Numerous groups, including those representing sugar beet and cherry growers and a registrant for the insecticide used on a wide variety of vegetable and fruit crops, have cited economic impacts from the loss of the product. In particular, they argue that for many pests, there is no adequate substitute.

“We are obviously disappointed with the court’s decision to deny the motion to stay the rule while the case is being heard, but still strongly believe EPA’s action to revoke tolerances of chlorpyrifos is inappropriate and is neither consistent with the law nor the agency’s own science and record,” the grower coalition said in a statement. “We are evaluating the court’s decision and discussing among our coalition what is required for the next steps.”

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The 9th Circuit Court ruled last year EPA had to revoke or modify food tolerances to comply with the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

“EPA has spent more than a decade assembling a record of chlorpyrifos’s ill effects and has repeatedly determined, based on that record, that it cannot conclude, to the statutorily required standard of reasonable certainty, that the present tolerances are causing no harm,” that court said in its 2-1 decision.

Environmental and farmworker groups have sought for more than a decade to get the product off the market, citing neurotoxic effects on infants and children.

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