20090615

Tell EPA to Protect Us from the Toxic Pesticide Endosulfan

Dear Administrator Jackson,

We, the undersigned individuals, write to urge EPA to take swift action to cancel all remaining uses of endosulfan and revoke all food residue tolerances for this toxic chemical.

In 2007, EPA found that use of endosulfan in agriculture poses unacceptable risks to the health and safety of pesticide applicators who handle this pesticide, and to farmworkers who work in endosulfan-treated fields. Agency calculations also show that its use on tomatoes in Florida (one the few remaining food crops in the U.S. with significant endosulfan use) presents a grave threat to aquatic organisms.

Since then, scientists from National Parks Services, the USGS, and other federal agencies have documented that endosulfan contaminates sensitive ecosystems from Florida Everglades to the Sierra Mountains to the Alaskan Arctic The accumulation of endosulfan in the Arctic is a serious concern, which is why the European Union has proposed that this chemical be added the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. Listing endosulfan in the Convention would trigger a global phaseout of its production and use. The effect of endosulfan on amphibians has only begun to be explored, but is already apparent that it is extremely toxic to many species.

EPA data also indicate that use of endosulfan is declining, alternatives exist, and its continued use provides only minimal benefits to growers. It?s time for EPA to step up to the plate and begin reversing some of the damage done by the previous administration?s anti-regulatory stance . By banning endosulfan, the US will take a significant step towards regaining its position as a leader in environmental protection, and will join the 60 other countries around the world that have already phased out use of this dangerous pesticide.

Please take action now to protect the health of people and the environment at home as well as globally by banning endosulfan.
Sincerely:

RareHero

6 comments:

Dr. S. Banerji said...

The persistence of Endosulfan is a safety feature since it reduces the frequency of applications, and since loading presents acute risks with all pesticides. Off-target residues can be degraded rapidly by chemical means and by microbes. Substitutes of Endosulfan are relatively expensive, and lack its favorable profile for pollinators, predators, and parasites. The campaign against this versatile and utilitarian generic is contrived and ill-considered.

rarehero said...

From Wikipedia:

Endosulfan is a organochlorine compound that is used as an insecticide and acaricide. This colourless solid has emerged as a highly controversial agrichemical due to its acute toxicity, potential for bioaccumulation, and role as an endocrine disruptor. Banned in more than 50 countries, including the European Union and several Asian and West African nations,[1] it is still used extensively in many other countries including India, Brazil, and Australia. It is produced by Bayer CropScience, Makhteshim Agan, and government-of-India-owned Hindustan Insecticides Limited among others. Because of its threats to the environment, a global ban on the use and manufacture of endosulfan is being considered under the Stockholm Convention.

Dr. S. Banerji said...

The wikipedia comments about toxicity and persistence are specious. It is neither new nor unique for am AcH disruptor to have a valid LD50. The acute toxicity of Endosulfan is within the common range for classic insecticides, and is adequate to ensure safe and judicious use. Regarding persistence, I reiterate that this is a safety feature, and that off-target residues are easy to degrade. Please consider the effects on pollinators in countries such as New Zealand that have substituted Endosulfan with neonicotinoids, and on impoverished third world farmers who have to pay extravagant premiums for proprietary and patented replacements for the generic and economical Endosulfan.

rarehero said...

You are hinting to the idea that toxins, at any level, are a permissible and inevitable aspect of industrialized agriculture.

This is why I support and advocate sustainable agriculture. There are very good ways to produce good crops without using your toxic chemicals.

I would suggest you read Michael Pollan's book, The Omnivore's Dilema, for more detauiled insight into industrialized food production but I don't think you will.

Dr. S. Banerji said...

There are three reasons for me to believe that industrial farming can be sustained. First, toxicity is related to dose. Natural substances can be as harmful as chemicals made by people if used in inordinate amounts. Hence, the key is to use inputs in moderation and within valid limits. Every pesticide has a safe limit within which it is to be used. Secondly, nature is the most prolific producer of toxins. Organic produce is not necessarily safe: take phyto-estrogens as examples. Thirdly, chemicals made in factories are labile. We can use them and wipe our footprints in time. Contamination arises from abuse-it is not inevitable.
I am painfully aware of Pollan's postulations. Please do not jump to hasty conclusions about my propensities to read the views of others. Pollan gives no credits for the Biblical contributions of US agriculture to feed the impoverished in the third world. Further, there are concrete instances of how food imports in to the United States help to raise quality and safety in supplier communities. The earth's environment and the future of our species are not suitable issues for scoring brownie points against those we love to hate.

rarehero said...

According to news reports, New Jersey’s state Department of Environmental Protection cited Ag-Mart for hundreds of violations, claiming Ag-Mart denied state investigators access to facilities, applied pesticides to tomatoes more frequently than permitted and on 17 occasions harvested and shipped pesticide-sprayed tomatoes before they were safe for public consumption.

The state also charged Ag-Mart with careless record-keeping, failing to properly ventilate areas during pesticide use, failing to post pesticide-safety information for workers, using forbidden mixtures of pesticides and losing track of a 2.5-gallon container of toxic insecticide. The fines linked to the violations total $931,250.

In a statement put out by the NJ Department of Pesticides, Commissioner Mark N. Mauriello said, "Ag-Mart has repeatedly shown a stunning disregard of laws and regulations intended to protect the workers who harvest their tomatoes, the people who consume them and New Jersey's environment. Ag-Mart's pesticide violations are the most serious DEP inspectors have ever uncovered. We have imposed a record-high penalty not only to hold Ag-Mart accountable for their failure, but to make sure it doesn't happen again."

It’s great that New Jersey took action. But more needs to be done on a national level. We need the federal EPA to protect us from big companies like Ag-Mart who deal on a national scale and have repeat violations.

Thank you so much for your comments.

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