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Syngenta Voluntarily Cancels Its Controversial Diazinon Products
(Beyond Pesticides, June 4, 2003)
On May 30, 2003, EPA issued a notice of receipt of Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc. request to voluntarily cancel the registrations for all of their products containing the active ingredient diazinon, an organophosphate insecticide, according to an EPA Pesticide Program Update distributed on June 2, 2003. EPA intends to grant the cancellation order, which will go into effect on June 30, 2003.

According to EPA, diazinon is the fifth most commonly used pesticide applied by homeowners. Various diazinon formulations are widely used in agriculture and non-agriculture sectors. In addition to Syngenta, there are five manufacturers, including Mahketshim-Agan, Drexel, Prentis, Gowan, and Aventis, responsible for an estimated 13 million pounds of active ingredients, 2 million applied to agricultural and 11 million applied to non-agricultural sites in eight formulations of end use products marketed under 454 active product labels. In agriculture, use breaks down as follows: almonds (13%), prunes (5%), plums (4%), nectarines (4%), lettuce (4%), and 70% in all other agriculture and livestock. For more information, see EPA's Technical Briefing document, December 5, 2000 and EPA's Diazinon Revised Risk Assessment and Agreement with Registrants, January 2001.

Exposure to the insecticide has been linked to brain, kidney and liver damage, along with adverse reproductive effects. It is also highly toxic to birds, and very toxic to aquatic species including freshwater fish and invertebrates. See Beyond Pesticides ChemicalWatch Factsheet on Diazinon.

Syngenta's recent request, submitted on April 8, 2003, calls for the cancellation of their diazinon products for agricultural uses and piggybacks on their request submitted on December 5, 2000 calling for the cancellation of their diazinon-containing products that are used in formulation for outdoor non-agricultural use.

According to the Federal Register notice (Volume 68, Number 104, Pages 32501-32503), the following provisions for disposition of existing stocks apply to Syngenta's diazinon-containing products.

1) For outdoor non-agricultural manufacturing-use products:
*Prohibit distribution or sale of existing stocks after June 30, 2003; and,
*Prohibit the use of existing stocks for formulation into any other product labeled for outdoor non-agricultural use after June 30, 2003.
2) For outdoor non-agriculture end-use products:
*Prohibit distribution, sale, or use of existing stocks by Syngenta after August 31, 2003;
*Prohibit the distribution or sale of existing stocks by persons other than Syngenta after December 31, 2004; and,
*Use of existing stocks may continue until stocks are exhausted
3) For agricultural manufacturing-use products:
*Prohibit distribution, sale, or use of existing stocks by Syngenta after August 31, 2003; and,
*The distribution, sale or use of existing stocks of any manufacturing-use product for formulation into any other product labeled for agricultural use by any person other than Syngenta
4) For agricultural end-use products:
*Prohibit the distribution or sale of existing stocks by Syngenta after August 31, 2003; and,
*The distribution, sale, or use of existing stocks by any person other than Syngenta may continue until stocks are exhausted.

A 30-day public comment period has been issued on the voluntary cancellation, as required by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). As the EPA states in the Federal Register notice, "Unless the Agency determines that there are substantive comments that warrant further review of this request, an order will be issued canceling all of these registrations." Comments on the requested registration cancellations must be identified by docket ID number OPP-2003-0170. Comments must be received on or before June 30, 2003. For more information, contact Stephanie Plummer, Special Review and Reregistration Division (7508C), Office of Pesticide Programs, EPA, at (703) 305-0076 or plummer.stephanie@epa.gov.

In July 2002, as part of a second agreement between the EPA and diazinon technical registrants, EPA agreed to a phase out and cancelation of certain crop uses and formulations of diazinon to reduce risks to birds and other wildlife, agricultural workers, and the environment. See Daily News story, EPA Signs Diazinon Interim Reregistration Eligibility Decision.

A December 2000 agreement is phasing out and canceling all residential uses (all indoor use product registrations must be canceled and retail sale must end by December 31, 2002. In addition, all outdoor residential use product registrations must be canceled and retail sale must end by December 31, 2004.) See more information.