EPA cancelling toxic pesticide, endosulfan

Today, after years of pushing by NRDC and others, EPA announced that it is cancelling all - ALL- uses of the pesticide endosulfan. Yay! Endosulfan is a toxic, long-lasting pesticide that travels through the atmosphere and ends up in the Arctic, in human breast milk, human fetal placenta, and the body fat of animals in the Arctic. It is already banned in over 60 countries including the European Union.

In EPA's own words:

"The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking action to end all uses of the insecticide endosulfan in the United States. Endosulfan, which is used on vegetables, fruits, and cotton, can pose unacceptable neurological and reproductive risks to farmworkers and wildlife and can persist in the environment."

NRDC had petitioned EPA and filed a lawsuit to cancel this hazardous pesticide in 2008. These efforts supported a coalition of scientists, Arctic tribal governments, Arctic indigenous peoples, and worker protection groups globally calling for endosulfan to be banned.

Endosulfan's registration was being defended vigorously by Makhteshim Agan of North America, the manufacturer of endosulfan, even after other companies, including Bayer, had voluntarily stopped making or selling the chemical.

Although this may be the closing chapter for endosulfan in the U.S., activists in other countries, including India where the chemical has been associated with severe birth defects among farmworker children, are facing jail and persecution in their efforts to rid themselves of this toxic curse.

About the Authors

Jennifer Sass

Senior Scientist, Federal Toxics, Health and Food, Healthy People & Thriving Communities Program

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