Smarter Living: Chemical Index
Carbaryl (trade name Sevin) is an insecticide that has been widely used agriculturally as well as for lawn and pet care. Carbaryl however is classfied as a likely human carcinogen and is highly toxic to honey bees and other pollinators.
Carbaryl is classified by the EPA as a likely human carcinogen and is toxic to the nervous system. It can overstimulate the human nervous system causing nausea, dizziness, confusion and, at high exposures, respiratory paralysis and death.
Young children are particularly vulnerable to carbaryl and other pesticides because their bodies and brains are still developing, and chemicals that interfere with the nervous system during development may cause long-term or permanent damage.
Carbaryl is also highly toxic to honeybees and other pollinators and may a contributor to colony collapse disorder, which is affecting bees across the country. When it runs off farms and lawns it contaminates streams and rivers, where it is toxic to aquatic animals, including the endangered Atlantic salmon.
Where it is Found
Crops treated with the highest amounts of carbaryl are apples, pecans, grapes, alfalfa, oranges and corn. Carbaryl is also found in many lawn and garden pesticides as well as pet flea collars, though its use in the latter was cancelled in 2009 as noted below.
Buy organic fruits and vegetables, especially kids’ favorites. Berries, stone fruits and leafy greens tend to carry the most pesticide residue.
Wash all produce thoroughly before you eat it.
Avoid using carbaryl on your lawn or in your garden. See "Easy, Organic Lawn Care" for advice on avoiding pesticides.
Avoid pet flea collars containing carbaryl. See "How to Control Fleas Without Chemicals" for more information on safe pet care.
The surest way to protect the American public at large is to ban the use of carbaryl entirely. In October 2009, EPA took the first step by announcing that carbaryl will no longer be allowed for use in flea collars. Let EPA know this is a good start but that given its toxicity, all uses of carbaryl should be prohibited.
U.S EPA, Amended Carbaryl RED, August 2008 (PDF)
U.S. EPA, Carbaryl IRED Facts, October 2004 (PDF)