Perspective: Activists File Suit Against EPA Over Chlorpyrifos Registrations and Tolerances

07/23/2010 -

- Earthjustice announced Thursday, July 22, 2010, that the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Pesticide Action Network have filed suit against EPA in an attempt to force a court-ordered response to their 2007 petition to the Agency to take regulatory action against the insecticide chlorpyrifos. The following offers Dow AgroSciences’ perspective on that action.

EPA recently finalized a thorough scientific evaluation of chlorpyrifos in 2006 in which all current uses of the product were supported by the Agency. (Note: By law, EPA cannot authorize use of a pest control product to protect a food crop, unless it has determined that these uses pose a “reasonable certainty of no harm.”) Many, if not all, of NRDC’s concerns were thoroughly considered by EPA during that evaluation.

Since that time, as part of the normal regulatory review process, EPA has initiated yet another evaluation of chlorpyrifos, which began in March 2009. This review will - once again - consider all health, safety and environmental aspects of chlorpyrifos uses, updating the Agency’s prior assessments with new information and addressing all of the concerns raised by NRDC’s petition.

NRDC’s petition (and the lawsuit filed to require EPA to respond to it) contribute nothing to the thorough health, safety and environmental regulatory evaluations already underway. If anything, the petition and suit reflect an effort on the part of NRDC to use legal action to short-circuit the rational, science-based regulatory processes by which its concerns are already being addressed. Over the years, NRDC has submitted petitions to EPA on many other pest control products that it has concerns about, many of which EPA has denied.

Chlorpyrifos is important to U.S. agriculture because it controls a wide range of insects on citrus, tree nuts, grapes, soybeans, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, alfalfa, wheat and other important crops. The product is an important part of grower Integrated Pest Management programs. It is less disruptive to beneficial insects than other products and more effective against crop pests than many alternative treatments. For some crops and crop pests, there are no alternative products that have been both demonstrated to be effective and that are readily available to growers.

Chlorpyrifos is registered today in approximately 100 nations, including most developed nations, based on detailed review of extensive scientific studies by regulators charged with the protection of human health. Registered uses rest on four decades of experience with the product, health surveillance of manufacturing workers and applicators and an extensive database of studies on health and the environment. No pest control product has been more thoroughly studied.

Continued product support during ongoing regulatory review is a prerequisite today for maintaining product registrations of crop protection products. Dow AgroSciences is prepared to support continued registration of chlorpyrifos and has extensive scientific data and 40 years of experience with the product under labeled use to bring to these evaluations.

For further information, contact Garry Hamlin, Dow AgroSciences, Indianapolis (317-337-4799 ~ GarryHamlin@Dow.com).

Related: lawsuit » activists » anti-pesticide » opposition » chlorpyrifos tolerances » EPA lawsuit

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