Thursday, December 30, 2004

Secret EPA Deal Set To Abandon Year-End Ban of Deadly Pesticide Dursban

EPA is negotiating a Christmas present for Dow Chemical Company that allowscontinued production and use of its controversial pesticide chlorpyrifos(Dursban) for home termite use three years beyond an announced phase-out,which was to begin December 31, 2004.

Washington, DC, December 20, 2004 - EPA is said to be secretly negotiating adeal with the Dow Chemical Company to extend a major use of theircontroversial and hazardous insecticide chlorpyrifos (trade name Dursban).The agency, according to sources, appears poised to grant Dow Chemical athree-year extension on a planned phase-out for termite use on new homesannounced as a part of a major reduction in residential uses in June 2000.The phase-out of remaining termite uses was to take effect at the end ofthis year, by December 31, 2004, when production was to stop, followed by ause prohibition to take effect at the end of 2005.

With much fanfare in June 2000, EPA announced the end of chlorpyrifos forresidential uses because of concerns associated with neurotoxic effects inchildren. EPA said, "Through this review, EPA has determined thatchlorpyrifos, as currently used, does not provide an adequate margin ofprotection for children. This action adds a greater measure of protectionfor children by reducing/eliminating the most important sources ofexposure... Over the next several years, remaining uses, including spot andlocal termiticide treatments and pre-construction termiticide applications,will be phased out." (See "Questions and Answers for Consumers about Chlorpyrifos," June 8, 2000.) Since its 2000 announcement, EPA has notdisclosed new data justifying continued exposure to a chemical that theagency has linked to adverse health effects, particularly in children.However, sources say that a new Dow risk assessment finds "acceptable"risks, while EPA does not have new indoor air monitoring data on treatedhomes, which experts say is necessary in reassessing risk and reversing itsearlier agreement with Dow. Advocates question why these issues have notbeen resolved since the announced phase-out in 2000 and before this week's deadline.

"If EPA proceeds with this deal, it is shirking its basic responsibility to protect children and the public from hazardous pesticides like chlorpyrifos and only serving the interests of Dow Chemical," said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides, a national environmental and public healthgroup based in Washington, DC. "There are widely available alternatives which make this hazardous chemical simply unnecessary," he said.

2000 square foot home requires that 380 gallons of pesticide be pumpedinto the ground. In a 100-home subdivision, about 38 thousand gallons are used. Pre-construction termiticide use is estimated at 400 million gallons.

As an alternative approach, borates can be applied directly to wood during the dried-in phase of construction, saving the builder time and money and providing termite protection for as long as the wood is in service.Borate-based products exhibit low toxic exposure to humans and other mammals. Other alternatives include steel mesh barriers and steel termiteshields under and around foundations.

Editors note: If you are in a house that has probably had some kind of pesticide treatment.... it might be time to take a look at indoor air purification. Barefoot's Secret Manufacturer makes a state of art, high tech air puirifier that looks like a piece of art instead of a high school science project. Check it out online HERE


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