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Environment

Corn Growers Challenge EPA’s Carbofuran Ban

August 18, 2008 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 86, ISSUE 33

Charging that EPA’s decision to revoke food tolerances for carbofuran goes “too far,” the nation’s largest organization of corn farmers is urging the agency to continue to allow limited use of the pesticide. “Many growers say this is a critical tool for controlling corn rootworm when needed after the crop emerges,” says Ron Litterer, president of the National Corn Growers Association. “We believe an outright ban goes too far and hope the industry can convince EPA to allow for at least a limited use of this pesticide for protecting our nation’s corn supply.” On July 24, EPA proposed to revoke regulations that allow residues of carbofuran in food and drinking water, the first step toward cancellation of the chemical in the U.S. NCGA noted that in a March 24 letter, Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer asked EPA to consider alternatives other than a total ban that could minimize exposure and bring the health risks down to acceptable levels. Schafer said USDA has concluded that carbofuran is an “economically important resource for agriculture.” Meanwhile, a spokesman for the National Cotton Council of America says the group plans to ask EPA for an “emergency exemption” that would allow continued use of carbofuran to control aphids in cotton fields.

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