The organophosphate pesticides chlorpyrifos, malathion, and diazinon are likely to jeopardize the continued existence of endangered species and adversely modify their critical habitats, according to the newly released report from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). By law, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must not allow their use.

Tell EPA to ban chlorpyrifos, malathion, and diazinon unless it can restrict uses to protect endangered species.

 Under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), any agency action requires a finding that the action “is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered species or threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of habitat.” The December 31, 2017 Biological Opinion from NMFS followed an ecological assessment that relied upon multiple lines of evidence to determine effects on species and their designated habitats.

These impacts include:

• “the direct and indirect toxicity of each chemical to aquatic taxa groups (e.g., fish, mammals, invertebrates)

• specific chemical characteristics of each pesticide (e.g., degradation rates, bioaccumulation rates, sorption affinities, etc.)

• expected environmental concentrations calculated for generic aquatic habitats

• authorized pesticide product labels

• maps showing the spatial overlap of listed species’ habitats with pesticide use areas

• species’ temporal use of those lands and/or aquatic habitats on which each pesticide has permitted uses”

The Biological Opinion finds, “[P]esticides containing chlorpyrifos are likely to jeopardize the continued existence of 38 of the 77 listed species, and adversely modify 37 of the 50 designated critical habitats.” For malathion, 38 of 77 listed species are likely to be jeopardized and 37 of the 50 designated critical habitats adversely modified. Likewise, diazinon likely jeopardizes 25 of 77 listed species and adversely modifies 18 of the 50 designated critical habitats. Species affected include salmon, steelhead, sturgeon, coral, and sea turtles, as well as orcas and seals that depend on salmon as a food source.