South Africa bans "op" pesticide chlorpyrifos
May. 31, 2010
On May 14th, South Africas Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries announced that the country was banning the use of the organophosphate (OP) chemical chlorpyrifos for home and garden uses. The announcement is a major blow to Dow Chemical, the main manufacturer of chlorpyrifos worldwide.
A PAN Bad Actor pesticide, chlorpyrifos is an acute nerve toxin and suspected endocrine disruptor that has been linked to numerous health harms. Most recently, OPs have been linked to an increased risk of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children.
Chlorpyrifos is found at particularly high levels in children. Data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that 93% of U.S. residents sampled between 1999 and 2000 had chlorpyrifos in their bodies, with children aged 6-11 years showing levels almost twice as high as those of adults.
From 2001-2005, EPA phased out residential uses of chlorpyrifos in the U.S., citing concerns for childrens health in particular, although the chemical, sold under the name Dursban or Lorsban, is still widely used in agriculture, which means heightened exposure continues to endanger rural and farmworker children.
PAN North America is working with partners, including the Farm Worker Pesticide Project, to urge EPA to complete the chlorpyrifos ban. "Its just unconscionable to allow continued exposure to chlorpyrifos among children in agricultural areas, after ruling that it is too hazardous for kids in urban settings," said Pesticide Action Network staff scientist Dr. Margaret Reeves, "its time to get rid of it, once and for all.
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