Daily News Archive
Still Using Large Amounts of Dangerous Pesticide
(Beyond Pesticides, August 26, 2004) A recent report from
the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that apple, cherry and pear
growers in Washington state continue to use large amounts of a pesticide
that may be linked to lung cancer and nerve damage. According to the
report, which was released earlier this month, growers applied 270,300
pounds of chlorpyrifos to apples, sweet cherries and pears in the state
last year. That accounts for nearly 74 percent of the nationwide total
used on those fruits. The report also stated that chlorpyrifos was used
on 63 percent of the state's apple crops, 57 percent of the sweet cherry
crops and 42 percent of the pear crops.
phased-out for household use by the US Environmental Protection Agency
because of its neurotoxic effects (particularly to children), under
2000 agreement with Dow AgroSciences, the pesticide's manufacturer.
Chlorpyrifos belongs to the family of organophosphate pesticides. Organophosphates
are a highly toxic class of pesticides that affects the central nervous,
cardiovascular and respiratory systems. Symptoms of exposure include:
numbness, tingling sensations, headache, dizziness, tremors, nausea,
abdominal cramps, sweating, incoordination, convulsions, and fatality.
A 1996 study of children exposed to chlorpyrifos in utero found that
extensive and unusual patterns of birth defects, including brain, nervous
system, eyes, ears, palate, teeth, heart, feet, nipples, and genitalia.
"It is definitely a concern that chlorpyrifos continues to be used
in such large quantities in the state," Carol Dansereau, executive
director of the Farm Worker Pesticide Project in Seattle, told The
Wenatchee World. In Washington state, the amount used on the three
crops was about the same as in 2001, the last time the USDA surveyed
growers on chemical use.
ACTION: When buying your produce, try and look for organic
alternatives. To learn more about organic options, visit Beyond Pesticides'
organic food section. For information
on farmworkers and pesticides, contact Beyond
Pesticides. We also recommend visiting the Farmworker
Justice Fund website for more information.