Visit the Sweetwater LLC blog
Visit the Sweetwater LLC blog
Connect with Jim on LinkedIn


E.P.A. Recommends Limits on Thousands of Uses of Pesticides



Published: August 4, 2006


WASHINGTON, Aug. 3 — The Environmental Protection Agency said on Thursday that it was recommending new restrictions on thousands of uses of pesticides because of their adverse effects on public health.


"Whether planting crops, de-bugging a home, working in the garden or just sitting down at the dinner table, Americans can now be assured the pesticides used in the U.S. meet the highest health standards in the world," Stephen L. Johnson, the agency administrator, said in a statement announcing the completion of a 10-year review, ordered by Congress, of pesticide chemicals.


The study, which focused on more than 230 chemicals known as organophosphates and carbamates, could lead to the elimination of 3,200 uses and the modification in use of 1,200 others, like chlorpyrifos, diazinon and methyl parathion, which have been long been controversial for their role in causing illnesses.


Environmental groups applauded the recommendation to cancel most uses of carbofuran, a common insecticide used on corn, rice, tobacco and other crops that has had particularly deadly effects on birds.


"Removal of this pesticide will save tens of thousands of birds, including bald eagles, hawks and migratory songbirds," said George Fenwick, president of the American Bird Conservancy. "Carbofuran's toxicity to wildlife made it one of America's most harmful licensed products."


Others complained that the agency had not gone far enough, especially in agricultural settings where children might be exposed at home. Margaret Reeves, a scientist with the Pesticide Action Network, an advocacy group, said the agency studied the effects of many agricultural pesticides in food and water but ignored them in residential settings.


Ms. Reeves also said the agency had done an inadequate job of measuring effects on brain development in fetuses, infants and young children, echoing a written complaint made public this week by leaders of a union of agency scientists. The scientists also said in their letter that chemical companies had pressured the agency to keep their products in use.


"It looks like they have taken a step forward," said William Hirzy, a senior scientist at the E.P.A. and a union leader. "But their work may be incomplete."


The trade association for the pesticide industry, CropLife America, said the E.P.A. ''deserves recognition'' for the study but it complained that political pressures had forced the agency to make many of the recommendations.


''We urge E.P.A. to apply transparency and good science policy to allow statutory standards to be clearly applied to pesticide regulations,'' said Jay J. Vroom, president and chief executive of the group.


Jim Jones, director of the agency's pesticide office, defended the analysis, saying it had been so thorough that other countries had asked for information on how the work was conducted.


"We're the only country in the world that has begun to export the methodology, it is so sophisticated and protective of human health," Mr. Jones said.


And now that the study is complete, Mr. Jones said the agency was recommending a new regimen, to review all the pesticide chemicals and their uses again in 15 years.



Return to the Resource Library




James P McMahon Ecologist

"What's in YOUR Water?"

To view my experience and credentials:

JPM Biography


Sweetwater, LLC

Return to:

Home Water Purification Systems

* * *



Home Water Purification Systems Air Purification Consultations Buy my Ultimate Guide Resource Library

Water Purifiers Arsenic Iron Removal Commercial Healing Waters Rainwater

Whole House Water Purification Water Testing Healthy Links Biography Well Water Rave Reviews


I don't take American Express