EPA proposes ban on two toxic pesticides, limits on use of many others

As part of a congressionally mandated 10-year review, the U.S. EPA this week recommended banning two particularly toxic pesticides and putting thousands of restrictions on the use of others. Out of 231 “active ingredients” reviewed by the agency, the two singled out for bans are lindane, which is used primarily on grain seeds and which persists in the environment and has been called by EPA “quite toxic to humans,” and carbofuran, which is used on a range of crops and has been especially lethal to birds. The chemical review employed new safety guidelines on the risks posed to kids, and also examined the effects of cumulative exposure. Enviros applauded the decisions on lindane and carbofuran, but some said the agency hadn’t gone far enough in limiting other pesticides. Also, some scientists at EPA and other federal agencies have criticized the way the review was conducted, saying the EPA gave in to pressure from pesticide manufacturers and rushed safety reviews.