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Daily News Blog

14
Nov

EPA Proposes to Reduce Protections from Neurotoxic Pyrethroid Insecticides

(Beyond Pesticides, November 14, 2019) The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under pressure from chemical companies, released a proposal on Tuesday to further weaken protections regarding 23 pyrethroids. Pyrethroids are a common class of neurotoxic insecticides that have been repeatedly linked by peer-reviewed studies to neurological issues such as learning disabilities in children. They are also extremely damaging to non-target invertebrates, according to EPA’s own analysis. Despite this, EPA had already recently undermined protections for children from these chemicals, and the Trump Administration is now embracing industry proposals to further remove other safety barriers to human health and the environment.

The Pyrethroid Working Group, a weighty working group of pesticide companies, requested EPA reduce safeguards such as a permanent 66-foot vegetation buffer between fields and water bodies to a 10 – 25-foot buffer. Also, the working group (and now EPA) suggests that the wind-speed cutoff for spraying should be increased from 10 mph to 15 mph. EPA’s announcement proposes the reapproval of five out the 23 pyrethroids; proposals regarding the rest are already pending approval. EPA is accepting public comments on the proposal until January 13, 2020.

As mentioned, this is only the latest detrimental decision EPA has put forth regarding synthetic pyrethroids. This August EPA stripped away protections that limit children’s exposure to pyrethroids, lowering the safety factor (accepted exposure rates) from 3x to 1x that of adults – ignoring the fact that children are more susceptible to the impacts of toxic pesticides. Beyond Pesticides’ coverage of the decision noted, “In reviewing the epidemiological literature on the health impact of this chemical class, EPA looked at hundreds of peer-reviewed studies, but only incorporated two into its determination. The vast majority of studies reviewed by EPA were considered low quality by the agency’s subjective criteria, and effectively ignored.

“Instead, the agency prioritized methodology put forth by [industry group known as the Council for the Advancement of Pyrethroid Human Risk Assessment] CAPHRA and encouraged by Croplife [an agrichemical industry trade group]. Under the CAPHRA model, pyrethroids were estimated to be metabolized by children at the same rate as adults. Children are more vulnerable to toxic chemical exposure than adults, given that they take in more chemical relative to body weight, and have organs systems whose development is disrupted.”

While environmental and health organizations such as Beyond Pesticides rallied against the changes through the public comment process, the public voice was – like the independent science – ignored.

Nathan Donley, PhD, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a press release, “There’s no floor on how low this administration will stoop to appease the pesticide industry,” he continued, “Ignoring independent science in favor of whatever pesticide companies want is par for the Trump course. In their relentless push to cripple pesticide protections, EPA officials are shrugging off huge threats to children’s health and the survival of bees and other environmentally crucial creatures.”

This news is the latest in a barrage of federal deregulation at the behest of industry. At the same time, various communities show that it is possible to take action at the local level to limit pesticide usage. Moms battling agrichemical giants for local control of their right to clean air and water won in the Maryland courts this summer. The success of organic agriculture and land management prove that toxic pesticides are not necessary. Let us know if you, too, are ready to make change in your local community by emailing [email protected] or giving us a call at 202-543-5450.

All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.

Source: Center for Biological Diversity

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2 Responses to “EPA Proposes to Reduce Protections from Neurotoxic Pyrethroid Insecticides”

  1. 1
    Roland S Says:

    People are waking up to the evil death dealers. Keep up the education and reporting.

  2. 2
    Theresa Waldron Says:

    Please do not lower any protections we now have against these pyrethroids.

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  • Archives

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