The EPA Bans the Pesticides Dursban and Lorsban

The EPA bans the pesticides Dursban and Lorsban, two of the most widely used pesticides in the U.S. The pesticides are known to cause potential nervous system and brain damage to young people and are being removed from the consumer marketplace.
By Michael Asprion
October/November 2000

Dursban is found in everything from flea collars to garden and lawn chemicals.
PHOTO: FOTOLIA/NINAMALYNA


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What's in a name? If it ends in "ban," watch out. The EPA bans the pesticides Dursban and Lorsban. 

In June, the Environmental Protection Agency officially began the process of removing two of the most widely used pesticides in the U.S., with this the EPA bans the pesticides Dursban and Lorsban from the consumer marketplace. The toxic products will be phased out of stores and wholesale warehouses over the next two years due to what the EPA cites as potential nervous system and brain damage to young people. The ban was made under the 1996 Food Quality Protection Act, which requires the EPA to restrict a pesticide's use if it poses a threat to children.

Technically speaking, Dursban is an organophospate insecticide and a member of a class of chemicals developed during World War II to attack the nervous system. Chlorpyrifos can cause headaches, seizures and even death. Dursban is found in everything from flea collars to garden and lawn chemicals, while Lorsban — also made with chlorpyrifos — is used to protect crops.

The EPA ban seems to have been a long time coming. In 1990 Durshan went on trial when the family of a three-week old baby, paralyzed for life, sued Dow for damages. The agrobusiness giant settled out of court when Duke University researchers concluded that Dursban was linked to the kind of nerve damage the boy suffered. Another settlement was reached in 1995 when the Harper United Methodist Church in Harper, Kansas, sued Orkin after its grounds were sprayed with Dursban, which made several church officials ill and required a two-year cleanup.

Even with the ban in place, Dow seems insistent that pesticides that attack insects' nervous systems are not dangerous. For several years they have been promoting spinosad, an organic alternative to chlorpyrifos. The company claims on its Web site that like chlorpyrifos, spinosad works by exciting insects' nervous systems, but "does not result in any mammalian nervous system effects."

At the most, the EPA ban will ensure that more innocent people are not harmed by toxic pesticides. At the very least, it will offer peace of mind to those concerned about their environment.

Michael Asprion 








Post a comment below.

 

steve@getipm.com
2/4/2008 2:42:39 PM
How to kill pests without killing yourself or the earth...... There are about 50 to 60 million insect species on earth - we have named only about 1 million and there are only about 1 thousand pest species - already over 50% of these thousand pests are already resistant to our volatile, dangerous, synthetic pesticide POISONS. We accidentally lose about 25,000 to 100,000 species of insects, plants and animals every year due to "man's footprint". But, after poisoning the entire world and contaminating every living thing for over 60 years with these dangerous and ineffective pesticide POISONS we have not even controlled much less eliminated even one pest species and every year we use/misuse more and more pesticide POISONS to try to "keep up"! Even with all of this expensive and unnecessary pollution - we lose more and more crops and lives to these thousand pests every year. We are losing the war against these thousand pests mainly because we insist on using only synthetic pesticide POISONS and fertilizers There has been a severe "knowledge drought" - a worldwide decline in agricultural R&D, especially in production research and safe, more effective pest control since the advent of synthetic pesticide POISONS and fertilizers. Today we are like lemmings running to the sea insisting that is the "right way". The greatest challenge facing humanity this century is the necessity for us to double our global food production with less land, less water, less nutrients, less science, frequent droughts, more and more contamination and ever-increasing pest damage. National Poison Prevention Week, March 18-24,2007 was created to highlight the dangers of poisoning and how to prevent it. One study shows that about 70,000 children in the USA were involved in common household pesticide-related (acute) poisonings or exposures in 2004. At least two peer-reviewed studies have described associations between autism ra








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