Explaining the Failed Chlorpyrifos Ban: Professor Aseem Prakash & Colleague on The Washington Post's Monkey Cage Blog

UW Political Science Professor Aseem Prakash and his colleague Nives Dolšak from the UW School of Marine and Environmental Affairs contributed a guest article to The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog. In the article, they explain why EPA head Scott Pruitt “denied a petition asking for a ban on the use of an insecticide called Chlorpyrifos,” which “belongs to the same chemical family as sarin nerve gas and works by attacking the nervous system.” To explain this decision by the new EPA head, they point to “two related factors: the relative powerlessness of the communities affected by Chlorpyrifos and the relative invisibility of the health programs associated with it.” Ultimately, they argue, the ban of the insecticide, which “can cause brain damage to children and even to the unborn,” failed because it is a mostly invisible problem affecting overwhelmingly marginalized communities, which lack political power.

The article titled “Why did Scott Pruitt refuse to ban a chemical that the EPA itself said is dangerous” appeared on The Washington Post website on April 12, 2017. The Monkey Cage is a blog that relies upon political science research “to make sense of the circus that is politics.” It was named 2010 Blog of the Year by The Week and a 2012 Best Blog by Time.