In this Oct. 19, 2019, file photo soybeans are harvested near Wamego, Kan. Credit: Charlie Riedel / AP

The Biden administration said Wednesday it was banning use of chlorpyrifos, a widely used pesticide long targeted by environmentalists because it poses risks to children and farm workers.

The Environmental Protection Agency acted after a federal appeals court ordered the government in April to quickly determine whether the pesticide is safe or should be prohibited.

During the Obama administration, the EPA had initiated a ban, but the agency reversed that decision shortly after President Donald Trump took office in 2017.

“Today EPA is taking an overdue step to protect public health,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan said. “After the delays and denials of the prior administration, EPA will follow the science and put health and safety first.”

Chlorpyrifos is applied on numerous crops, including soybeans, fruit and nut trees, broccoli and cauliflower. It has been linked to potential brain damage in children.

The Pesticide Action Network North America and the Natural Resources Defense Council petitioned the EPA in 2007 to revoke all approved levels of chlorpyrifos in food.

“It is gratifying to see the EPA once again adhere to the best available science when making critical regulatory decisions,” said Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, chairwoman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

Story by John Flesher, Associated Press