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US EPA proposes banning diuron herbicide on food

by Britt E. Erickson
May 6, 2022 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 100, Issue 16

Chemical structure of diuron.

The herbicide diuron would be banned on all US food crops under a proposed decision announced April 28 by the Environmental Protection Agency. The proposal would also end use of the herbicide on roadways and other nonagricultural sites, and as an algaecide in commercial fish production. People would still be able to use diuron as a defoliant in cotton harvesting and as an algaecide in residential aquariums and ponds. Antimicrobial uses, including in paints, coatings, and adhesives, would also be allowed, but the EPA is proposing measures to protect workers who use such products. The agency identified cancer risks from dietary and residential painting exposures to diuron in a human health risk assessment released in 2021. It also found risks to wildlife in ecological assessments. Environmental groups welcome the proposal. “We can only hope this important, science-based decision is an indication of a new path forward where the agency routinely prioritizes the health of people and wildlife when assessing all pesticides,” Nathan Donley, environmental health science director at the Center for Biological Diversity, says in a statement. The EPA is accepting comments on the proposal until June 27.


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