NRDC Sues EPA for Failing to Ban Two Highly Toxic Pesticides

WASHINGTON (February 28, 2007) -- The Environmental Protection Agency has failed to protect the public from exposure to two highly toxic pesticides -- DDVP (dichlorvos) and carbaryl -- found in common household products that have been demonstrated in laboratory studies to cause severe neurological and developmental harm, according to a lawsuit filed today by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
The action charges that EPA has missed its congressionally mandated deadline to finalize a comprehensive reevaluation of carbaryl, failed for 20 years to finish an expedited review of DDVP, and failed to respond to a petition calling for a ban on the chemicals.
“EPA is needlessly jeopardizing the health of our children,” said Dr. Jennifer Sass, an NRDC senior scientist. ‘The agency should ban DDVP and carbaryl. There are safer alternatives on the market today, and we urge consumers to avoid any products that use either of these two pesticides.”
DDVP -- commonly used in pest strips, aerosol sprays and pet collars -- is one of a class of the most dangerous pesticides on the market, called organophosphates, which derive from World War II-era nerve agents. Studies have shown DDVP causes cancer in laboratory animals. California lists DDVP as a known carcinogen, while the World Health Organization and the EPA list it as a possible human carcinogen.  DDVP already is banned overseas, including the United Kingdom, Denmark and Sweden.   
Carbaryl -- a highly toxic pesticide used in large-scale agriculture, lawn products, commercial garden centers and pet products --  is particularly toxic to the developing nervous system in fetuses, infants, and young children. EPA acknowledges that carbaryl can overstimulate the nervous system, inducing symptoms including nausea, dizziness, confusion, and even death in extreme cases.
“EPA has known about the risks of these chemicals to human health for decades, and has dragged its feet while allowing exposures to continue,” said Mae Wu, a staff attorney at NRDC.  
The lawsuit is being filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.