Agricultural Use of Chlorpyrifos Will End

Some further clarifications on the article below (amended 09/03/2021):

  • The date the tolerance revocation takes effect will be: 2/28/22. After that, agricultural products that are found to contain any chlorpyrifos residue can be condemned.
  • Chlorpyrifos labels will change in the future so that crops will no longer be listed as a labeled site for use of chlorpyrifos. However, that change takes longer then revoking the tolerances.
  • “Feed” commodities, such as field corn and alfalfa are also covered by the tolerance revocation.


Agricultural Use of Chlorpyrifos Will End
By Steve Tomasko

If you’ve been following the ping pong of rulings on the use of chlorpyrifos over the past few years no one would blame you for having a sore neck. However, it appears that a recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ruling will end the use of the insecticide on food crops. The ruling will take effect in six months.

The EPA announced it will stop the use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos on all food “to better protect human health, particularly that of children and farmworkers,” according to a press release. The issue has bounced back and forth over the past few years with the EPA ready to revoke food tolerances for chlorpyrifos in 2016. That decision was then reversed in 2017 under a new administration. The courts then got involved and ordered the EPA to bar the insecticide’s use on food crops unless it could demonstrate its safety.

In a final rule issued August 18, 2021, the EPA revoked all “tolerances” for chlorpyrifos. The EPA sets food tolerances, which are the maximum amount of a pesticide allowed to remain in or on a food. So, revoking all tolerances has the effect of saying there cannot be any chlorpyrifos residue at all allowed on food, which is another way of banning a product’s use on food crops.

Chlorpyrifos, an organophosphate insecticide, is the active ingredient in several products including Lorsban 4E, Lorsban Advanced, Cobalt, Cobalt Advanced and several generic insecticides. Chlorpyrifos has been in use since 1965 and is used to control many kinds of pests, including termites, mites, aphids, cockroaches, roundworms and more. Up until 2000, the insecticide was also a common household item used to apply in homes to control ants, roaches and other insect pests. Its use, even in agriculture, has been waning over the years.

This tolerance revocation is in addition to the EPA’s ongoing registration review for chlorpyrifos. After considering public comments about the insecticide’s use, the EPA will proceed consider non-food uses of chlorpyrifos and may consider additional measures to reduce human health and ecological risks. More information on the registration review process is available here: