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Daily News Archive
From April 4, 2001

Coalition of State Attorneys General Call for Immediate Removal of Diazinon from Store Shelves

Attorney General (AG) Tom Reilly of Massachusetts on March 29, 2001 joined with the Attorneys General of New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland, Alaska, and Guam in asking retailers to voluntarily remove diazinon from their shelves, the commonly used pesticide is known to cause acute insecticide poisoning. The AG's request is in response to the recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) agreement to provide the manufacturer of diazinon with a phase-out period that allows the pesticide to stay on store shelves into 2003.

AG Elliot Spitzer of New York stated that, "We agree with the EPA's assessment that this highly toxic pesticide poses serious health and environmental risks. However, we disagree that we should wait a full two and a half years before it is taken off the market. We are calling on major retailers to act in the public interest by taking Diazinon off their shelves immediately and offering their customers effective but less harmful alternatives."

Americans use 13 million pounds of Diazinon per year, 80 percent of which is applied by homeowners on turf, lawns and gardens to control insects and grub worms. EPA has found that Diazinon poses health risks to people who apply the pesticide as well as those who are exposed to it. It affects the brain and nervous system and exposure in humans can cause nausea, headaches, vomiting and diarrhea. The EPA assessment found that children are particularly at risk due to potential exposure by inhalation of vapors and by skin contact in and around their homes.

Diazinon also seriously damages the environment and wildlife. EPA research has revealed Diazinon to be responsible for the greatest number of bird kills - especially waterfowl, songbirds and raptors - attributable to pesticides during the years 1994-1998. A single granule of Diazinon is enough to kill a bird. Diazinon is also highly toxic to freshwater fish, snails, algae, earthworms and mites. Click here to access EPA's risk assessment documents on diazinon.

The letter from the Attorney General requesting that Diazinon be pulled from stores immediately was sent to the following major retailers: Ace Hardware; Agway, Inc.; Brewer Environmental Inc.; Home Depot, Inc.; Kmart Corporation; Lowe's Home Improvement Center; Pergament Home Centers, Inc.; Sam's Club; Target; TruServ Corporation (True Value); Walgreen's; Walmart; and WSTCO Quality Feed. Click here to read the letter.

Beyond Pesticides/NCAMP encourages you to write a letter to the retailer(s) in your area that carry diazinon products asking them to remove this deadly chemical from their shelves. Contact Beyond Pesticides/NCAMP for information about alternative approaches to pest control.