USA to phase out hazardous pesticides

Regulation of pesticide use in the USA is set to be tightened, with plans to phase out a family of harmful chemicals from agricultural use.

The American Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed the banning of carbofuran, after tests of the chemical concluded it posed ‘considerable risks’ when its residues were found in food and drinking water, as well as harming agricultural workers using the pesticide and birds that are exposed to it in treated fields.

The EPA wants to see an immediate ban on most uses of the pesticide and rewrite regulations so there is no longer an acceptable level at which the chemical can be found in foodstuffs.

But it also wants a four-year phase out for what it calls ‘minor agricultural uses’ to give time for alternatives to be found.

This would create a temporary exemption for six particular uses of the pesticide.

The carbofuran ban is the result of a ten year review of over 200 pesticides used on food crops, which means the EPA has now analysed the impact of 1,100 of the 1,105 pesticides used in the United States.

Stephen L Johnson, EPA administrator, said: “Whether planting crops, de-bugging a home, working in the garden, or just sitting down at the dinner table, Americans everywhere can now be assured the pesticides used in the US meet the highest health standards in the world.

“By maintaining the highest ethical and scientific standards in its pesticide review, EPA and the Bush Administration have planted the seeds to yield healthier lives for generations of American families.”

Jim Gulliford, assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substabces, said: “The EPA is committed to moving America away from high-risk pesticides to newer, safer alternatives that deliver results, while ensuring the public, pesticide applicators, and the environment are protected.”

Further information on carbofuran can be found on the EPA website.

The EPA will continue to review all pesticides used in the USA on a 15 year cycle.

Sam Bond

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