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EPA Bans Most Home Use of Dursban Pesticide

ABC/Reuters Wire
06/08/2000 16:39:00 ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The federal government on Thursday
banned, as expected, most home uses of the pesticide Dursban --
the most widely used pesticide in the nation -- due to health risks
including blurred vision and memory loss.

The Environmental Protection Agency said blurred vision, muscle
, headaches, and memory loss
have been linked to large
amounts of exposure to Dursban, and that therefore its use in homes
should be restricted.  [See AMA Information on Organophosphate
Pesticide, Dursban

The pesticide is used in 20 million U.S. households annually, and has
been manufactured for more than 30 years by a unit of Dow Chemical
Company (DOW.N).

Under an agreement signed late on Wednesday between the EPA and
Dow Chemical, production of Dursban will end by the end of the year,
said EPA Administrator Carol Browner.

Browner said the agency decided to work out such an agreement with
the company instead of banning the product and ordering the immediate
removal of Dursban from store shelves -- a legal and regulatory process
which could have taken several years.

"In terms of how best to go about protecting our children, this was the
fastest possible way for us to get the kind of reduction in the manufacturing
(of Dursban)," Browner told reporters. "We are getting a 10 million pound
reduction in the manufacturing of this pesticide by the end of this year."

Dursban, the most commonly known brand of the chemical chlorpyrifos,
is used to kill insects that attack everything from home-grown tomatoes
to commercial corn fields. It is also a powerful weapon against termites
and cockroaches, and is used in pet collars to kill ticks.

Dow Chemical has defended Dursban, saying more than 3,600 scientific
studies have proven it to be harmless when used as directed.  

[Note:  These pesticides were often NOT used as directed on the campus
of SBU
; this is a violation of federal law.

Environmental and consumer groups praised the EPA's plans to limit
the use of Dursban and urged retailers to pull the pesticide.

"Now it's time for retail chains like The Home Depot, Wal-Mart,
Lowes and others to take Dursban products off store shelves
," said
Todd Hettenbach, a pesticide analyst with the Environmental Working

(Washington News Room, 202-898-8320)


posted 09 Jun 2001 11:39

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