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NRDC Sues EPA for Failing To Ban Two Highly Toxic Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, March 5, 2007) The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has failed to protect the public from exposure to two highly toxic pesticides, dichlorvos (DDVP) and carbaryl. The chemicals are found in common household products that have been demonstrated in laboratory studies to cause severe neurological and developmental harm, according to a lawsuit filed February 28, 2007, by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

The action charges that EPA has missed its congressionally mandated deadline to finalize a comprehensive reevaluation of carbaryl, failed for 20 years to finish an expedited review of DDVP, and failed to respond to a petition calling for a ban on the chemicals.

“EPA is needlessly jeopardizing the health of our children,” said Jennifer Sass, Ph.D., an NRDC senior scientist. “The agency should ban DDVP and carbaryl. There are safer alternatives on the market today, and we urge consumers to avoid any products that use either of these two pesticides.”

DDVP*, currently used in pest strips, aerosol sprays and pet collars, is one of a class of the most dangerous pesticides on the market, called organophosphates, which derive from World War II-era nerve agents. Studies have shown DDVP causes cancer in laboratory animals. California lists DDVP as a known carcinogen, while the World Health Organization and EPA list it as a possible human carcinogen. According to NRDC, DDVP already is banned overseas, including the United Kingdom, Denmark and Sweden.

Carbaryl*, a highly toxic pesticide used in large-scale agriculture, lawn products, commercial garden centers and pet products, is particularly toxic to the developing nervous system in fetuses, infants, and young children. EPA acknowledges that carbaryl can overstimulate the nervous system, inducing symptoms including nausea, dizziness, confusion, and even death in extreme cases.

Through a deal with the Amvac Corporation, DDVP’s manufacturer, some uses were canceled and are being phased-out. Bayer, the manufacturer of carbaryl, made a similar deal in 2003. However, according to environmental and health advocates, nothing short of a full ban on these highly toxic, outdated pesticides will adequately protect health and the environment.

“EPA has known about the risks of these chemicals to human health for decades, and has dragged its feet while allowing exposures to continue,” said Mae Wu, a staff attorney at NRDC.

The lawsuit, NRDC v. Johnson, U.S. EPA, is being filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Dr. Sass will be speaking at the upcoming National Pesticide Forum, Changing Course in a Changing Climate: Solutions for health and the environment, June 1-3 in Chicago.

*Link best viewed with Internet Explorer.


4 Responses to “NRDC Sues EPA for Failing To Ban Two Highly Toxic Pesticides”

  1. 1
    fritzi Says:

    Hey this is great. We have been fighting the spraying of carbaryl in Willapa Bay Washington by the Commercial Oysterman for over ten years. They’ve been spraying since 1965 to get rid of two types of little shrimp, ghost and mud, that aerate, they say muck up the mudflats. They describe carbaryl as benign and unfortunately the elected officials in Washington State have looked the other way and encouraged putting more chemicals in Willapa Bay. Carbaryl also is know to be totally toxic to honey bees. great going

  2. 2
    Jeff Says:

    When will someone investigate why the EPA puts on termiticide labels the application rate of “4 gallons per 10 linear feet per foot of depth, to the top of the foundation footing or 4 feet deep, whichever is less”? I find out that the rate has never been proven to be the best rate, and that termites can actually be controlled using less – MUCH less. When will someone hold the EPA, and each state accountable for MANDATED pesticide overuse?

  3. 3
    Toxie Myers Says:

    Beyond and NRDC:
    What good are laws if there’s no or little enforcement and government agencies simply blatantly, self-vidently lie to abuse the laws? ? When truckloads of Penta and Dioxin waste were dumped next door to me in a neigborhood, hundreds of laws were broken and the EPA finlly said the rotting waste could be used as a “Consumer Product” which is an outright impossible lie.
    The NRDC condoned the mess then and my wife is currently bed-ridden dying from the poision. The NRDC is simply another “do-gooder” that only does itself good.

  4. 4
    karen wagner Says:

    The poultry farm where I work uses DDVP in the use of killing flies. Whenever they spray the buildings I get sick from it. The company says that it is safe and not toxic. When will someone stand up and put limits and boundries as to what and where pestacides are used. Has it come down to the almighty chicken who produces our eggs is so much more important than the people that are taking care of them?

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