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Environment

Industry disputes chemicals’ risks to endangered species

by Britt E. Erickson
June 27, 2017 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 95, ISSUE 18

Manufacturers of three organophosphate insecticides are urging EPA to abandon its process for assessing the risks of pesticides on endangered species. The companies—Dow AgroSciences, Makhteshim Agan of North America, and FMC —claim that EPA’s approach is fundamentally flawed. At issue are biological evaluations of three pesticides—chlorpyrifos, diazinon, and malathion—released by EPA in the final days of the Obama Administration. The evaluations conclude that the three chemicals are likely to adversely affect more than 1,000 endangered species. The three companies claim that EPA failed to adequately describe its risk assessment approach, making it difficult to evaluate and reproduce the results. The companies are also questioning EPA’s use of studies that were not evaluated for data quality and relevance and the agency’s failure to consider several studies submitted by the pesticide industry. In addition, the companies say that EPA’s estimates for exposure to the pesticides are “unrealistically high.” The Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental group, says that Dow is profiting by pressuring the Trump Administration to scrap efforts to regulate pesticides.

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