Common, EPA-OK’d insecticides causing health problems
More than a quarter of all significant pesticide-related health problems reported to the U.S. EPA in 2007 involved a class of insecticides deemed safe by the agency, says a new report from the Center for Public Integrity. Naturally occurring pyrethrins and their synthetic counterpart, pyrethroids, have been touted as safe alternatives to nasty organophosphates. In the past decade, they have increasingly shown up in pet shampoos, roach killers, carpet cleaners, and more. EPA data for 2007 reflect 1,030 reported incidents involving pyrethrins and pyrethroids — more than any other class of insecticide — compared to 261 in 1998. CPI “uncovered this public-safety issue through more than a dozen Freedom of Information Act requests and crunching the data,” says CPI’s Bill Buzenberg. “This should be basic public information if the EPA were doing its job.” Indeed, the EPA had planned to study the health effects of pyrethrins and pyrethroids in 2010, but now plans to expedite that research.