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Thursday, June 10, 2010

EPA Announces End to Endosulfan Pesticide

Activists are celebrating the EPA's decision to ban a pesticide, endosulfan.

The product has been shown to enter bloodstream of workers causing serious health impacts.
A press release from PANNA (Pesticide Action Network of North America) came out yesterday, and is emphasizing the impact of this decision by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).

It is certainly a positive direction for the EPA to go to protect farmers and their families. WA Toxics Coalition organization states that this chemical had been sprayed on Christmas Trees in our state and in other uses.

photo credit - PANNA 
Farmers spraying Endosulfan

Endgame for Endosulfan

June 9, 2010
For Immediate Release

End game for endosulfan

Environmental health and farmworker groups celebrate 
U.S. phaseout of persistent pesticide

Today Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) and partners around 
the world are rejoicing over U.S. EPA’s announcement of the end of endosulfan, 
an antiquated, highly toxic insecticide. The pesticide has been linked to autism, 
birth defects, and delayed puberty in humans.

“This long overdue decision is an important victory for the farmworkers who have 
worked with this poison, the families that live near fields where it’s sprayed, and 
the Indigenous communities in the Arctic who are exposed to this persistent 
organic pollutant in their traditional foods,” said Karl Tupper, Staff Scientist 
with PANNA. “Our work has finally paid off.” 

PANNA and allies have campaigned for a ban on endosulfan for years, collecting 
tens of thousands of signatures on petitions to EPA, filing legal petitions, 
submitting detailed comment letters, and even challenging in federal court the 
agency’s 2002 decision to reregister endosulfan.

Citing concerns over human health and environmental degradation, EPA is 
negotiating an agreement from its manufacturer, Makhteshim Agan North America, 
to voluntary remove endosulfan products from the market.

“The end of endosulfan cannot come soon enough for farmworkers,” says Jeannie 
Economos, Pesticide Safety and Environmental Health Project Coordinator with 
the Farmworker Association of Florida. “The health of farmworkers should have 
raised red flags on the impacts of this pesticide many years ago. Soil and water 
studies in and around the Everglades indicate that endosulfan is also of serious 
concern to wildlife.”

Today’s announcement is expected to have reverberations outside the U.S. as well. 
Already banned in more than 60 countries around the world, including Thailand, 
Sri Lanka, several African countries and all 27 members of European Union, a 
global ban on endosulfan is currently being pursued under the Stockholm Convention 
on Persistent Organic Pollutants, a UN treaty.  

“The U.S. EPA is taking the lead in the right direction with its decision to phase out 
endosulfan,” says Sarojeni V. Rengam of Pesticide Action Network Asia and the Pacific. 
“We hope this decision will increase momentum towards a worldwide ban that is 
effectively implemented by governments. The unhealthy legacy of this acutely toxic 
chemical has been felt for decades by farmers and rural communities in Asia and 
throughout the world. It is time for endosulfan to go.”

Pamela Miller, Executive Director of Alaska Community Action on Toxics, agrees. 
“Endosulfan has become one of the most ubiquitous organochlorine pesticides in the 
Arctic, contaminating the traditional foods of Arctic Indigenous peoples, including fish, 
seabird eggs, and marine mammals. This is a serious public health and human rights 
issue. Unless it is phased out globally, levels are likely to increase with climate warming 
in the Arctic. We hope that the U.S. phase out will help advance a global ban.”

The Stockholm Convention outlaws toxic chemicals that—like PCBs and DDT—
persist in the environment, bioaccumulate in food chains, and are transported across 
international boundaries on the wind and in ocean currents. India and China have been 
the most vocal opponents to adding endosulfan to the treaty, and have pointed to its 
continued use in the U.S. as evidence that it must not be harmful.

According to Tupper, who participates in the Convention’s negotiations, “Today’s 
announcement takes away one the most powerful talking points of those few countries 
that are determined to stop global ban.”

Jayakumar Chelaton, Director of the Indian NGO Thanal, said, “We expect that India 
will be encouraged to act after hearing the  decisions of the U.S. EPA to protect health 
and the environment, since Indian law makers have been referring to U.S. provisions 
when framing the Indian law. This is now the opportunity for all to stay ahead in saving 
the world and making it toxic free. "

Contacts: Karl Tupper, PANNA, 415-981-6205, ext 314, Kristin Schafer, 
PANNA, 408-836-8189 (cell

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