Web Date: May 21, 2008
Groups Petition EPA To Ban Endosulfan
A coalition of environmental health groups, Arctic tribes and indigenous groups, and scientists sent a letter to EPA on May 19, calling for the agency to cancel all uses of the organochlorine pesticide endosulfan. They are seeking the ban because of concerns about the chemical's toxicity, its high potential to bioaccumulate, and its persistence in the environment. Endosulfan is an endocrine disrupter that behaves as an antiandrogen, and it is a neurotoxicant, the petition notes. Numerous studies have shown that the compound affects the reproductive systems and brains of developing laboratory animals.
EPA estimates that farmers use approximately 1.4 million lb of endosulfan each year in the U.S. The pesticide is used extensively on cotton, tomatoes, potatoes, and apples, but residues of it have been detected in numerous other foods, including cucumbers, green peppers, raisins, cantaloupe, spinach, and even butter, according to the petition. Endosulfan has been detected in humans and the environment, including remote areas such as the Arctic, where it is not used.
"It is time to take this dangerous and antiquated pesticide off the market," says Jennifer Sass, a senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council, one the many environmental groups urging EPA to withdraw endosulfan's registration. "The scientific evidence clearly shows that the continued use of this chemical puts the health of exposed farmworkers, communities, and the environment at risk," she adds.
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