NRDC, Others Reach
Settlement with EPA to Meet Agency's Obligation to Regulate Pesticides
On January 19, 2001, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), United Farm Workers of America, AFL-CIO, and other environmental groups and individuals announced a settlement agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that requires the agency to carry out its legal obligations to control the health risks of pesticides. In the settlement, EPA agreed to implement some of the key congressional mandates in the 1996 Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA), and 1988 amendments to the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).
"We are pleased that the EPA is now committed to carrying out many of its key legal duties mandated unanimously by Congress in 1996 to protect children, farm workers, and the general public from dangerous pesticides," said Erik Olson, an NRDC senior attorney. "In this settlement, EPA agrees to evaluate the threats posed by some of the riskiest pesticides over the next few years, as Congress clearly required."
The settlement requires
EPA to assess, by August 2002, the cumulative risks of all 39 organophosphate
insecticides; determine over the next year and a half whether the carbamate
family of insecticides, the triazine family of herbicides and the "chlor-"
family of herbicides act together as cumulative poisons; decide how it
will control or eliminate the risks of 11 highly hazardous pesticides
(phosmet, azinphos-methyl, propargite, chlorpyrifos, atrazine, carbaryl,
benomyl, endosulfan, lindane, diazinon and metam sodium); adopt the necessary
actions to protect farm workers from three of the most risky insecticides
used on crops (azinphos methyl, chlorpyrifos and diazinon); and initiate
a program testing for the effects of pesticides and certain other chemicals
on the body's hormone-controlled endocrine system.