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EPA to Ban Use of Endosulfan

September 8th, 2010

EPA to Ban Use of Endosulfan

In June 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took action to ban the use of endosulfan in the United States because it poses unacceptable risks to agricultural workers and wildlife, and can be pervasive in the environment.

The decision was based on a revised ecological risk assessment report, first written in 2002, which highlights that farm workers face greater risks than were previously known. The EPA also found that endosulfan, a colorless solid, poses excessive risk to aquatic and terrestrial wildlife, as well as to birds and mammals that consume aquatic prey which have ingested endosulfan.

The EPA’s revised assessment from 2010 is a comprehensive review of all available exposure readings and ecological effect information for endosulfan, including independent peer-reviewed recommendations made by the endosulfan Scientific Advisory Panel.

Endosulfan (6,7,8,9,10,10-hexcholoro-1,5,5a,6,9,9a-hexahydro-6,9-methano-2,4,3-
benzodioxathiepin-3-oxide), a dioxathiepin (broadly classified as an organochlorine), is a broad-spectrum contact insecticide and acaricide that is used on a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, and cotton, as well as on ornamental shrubs, trees, vines, and herbaceous plants in commercial agricultural settings. It has also been used in wood preservation and home gardening. According to the EPA, crops, such as tomatoes, cucurbits, potatoes, apples, and cotton, were treated with the highest amounts of endosulfan between 2006 and 2008.

Endosulfan has emerged as a controversial agrichemical due to its acute toxicity, potential for bioaccumulation, and role as an endocrine disruptor. The EPA is currently drafting a more detailed report of their decision.

For more information on the EPA’s decision visit:

http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/reregistration/endosulfan/endosulfan-cancl-fs.html

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