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Endosulfan: EPA moves to cancel all uses of this toxic pesticide

By Gary Bogue
Thursday, July 1st, 2010 at 7:34 am in Birds, Pesticide.

Endosulfan is toxic to cedar waxwings and other birds (Amanda Rose/El Sobrante, CA)
waxwings2, amanda rose, el sobrante

Finally! The Environmental protection Agency is canceling all uses of the toxic pesticide, Endosulfan! About time. This is VERY nasty stuff! /Gary

MEDIA RELEASE:

EPA Moves to Cancel All Uses of Toxic Pesticide Endosulfan

(Washington, D.C.,  June  29, 2010) — American Bird Conservancy today hailed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decision to end all U.S. uses of the insecticide endosulfan (trade name: Thiodan prior to 2002 and later called Thionex) which has been found to pose reproductive and neurological risks to birds, other wildlife and humans.

Endosulfan is toxic to western grebes and other birds. (Bill Delameter/Livermore, CA)
wgrebe, bill delameter, livermore

The manufacturer of endosulfan, Makteshim Agan of North America is now in discussions with EPA planning the voluntary cancellation of all uses of the pesticide.

The EPA cited new data gathered since 2002 showing endosulfan poses high risks  to farm workers, who can be exposed through inhalation and skin contact.  Birds and aquatic and terrestrial wildlife are also at risk when consuming insects that have been exposed to endosulfan. The pesticide has already been banned in 60 countries.  Worldwide outcry to ban endosulfan arose from the deaths of 135 people in Kerala, India, following use of the pesticide in cashew orchards.

“We have alerted EPA over a period of many years about the impacts of endosulfan on birds, and we are thrilled that, through this decision, EPA has validated those concerns. Wildlife and humans are better off because of this EPA decision,” said Moira McKernan, Director of ABC’s Pesticides and Birds Program.

Endosulfan was first registered for use in the 1950s and is the last of the organochlorine pesticide class to be used in the United States. Other organochlorine pesticides, such as DDT, dieldrin, and chlordane were banned in the 1970s and 1980s.  Endosulfan has been used on cotton, vegetables, fruits, ornamental shrubs, trees, and herbaceous plants in the U.S.  The pesticide is also an endocrine disruptor, meaning, it disrupts hormones and affects reproductive success and embryonic development. It also accumulates in the tissues of organisms and persists for a long time in the environment.  There are a few records in ABC’s Avian Incident Monitoring System (AIMS) on endosulfan, however one record is very significant.  Following an environmental release of endosulfan, approximately 40,000 ducks were exposed and killed in 1995.  This demonstrates endosulfan’s acute toxicity to birds.

Several US organizations led efforts to ban endosulfan, including NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) and PANNA(Pesticide Action Network, North America), both members of the National Pesticide Reform Coalition (NPRC).  The NPRC was formed in 2002 by ABC and other non-profit groups who recognized an increasing need for coordination in addressing issues arising from the EPA’s pesticide registration and re-registration processes.

Since its inception, the NPRC has proven an effective means of fighting specific pesticide registrations that are deemed hazardous to people, animals, or the environment. The Coalition now comprises 20 organizations, ranging from bird and other wildlife groups, to human health groups, to general conservation and environmental groups

*** American Bird Conservancy (http://www.abcbirds.org) conserves native birds and their habitats throughout the Americas by safeguarding the rarest species, conserving and restoring habitats, and reducing threats, while building capacity of the bird conservation movement. ABC is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit membership organization that is consistently awarded a top, four-star rating by the independent group, Charity Navigator.

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One Response to “Endosulfan: EPA moves to cancel all uses of this toxic pesticide”

  1. Thomas Mueller Says:

    Gary:

    We have a family [mon and three young ones]of racoons living under our wooden deck. Right now they seem to be very passive. We do not want to let our cat out for fear he might be attacked. What should we do? Leo [the cat] loves the back yard. You know, right?

    Thomas

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