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EPA Bans New Production of ChlorpyrifosAired June 8, 2000 - 2:01 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Here's what's happening, a government move today to help make your home and family safer, the target: a pesticide commonly found in products ranging from garden chemicals to pet collars. The Environmental Protection Agency is banning the pesticide for home use and curtailing its application in agriculture.
Environmental correspondent Natalie Pawelski explains why the EPA is taking the action.
NATALIE PAWELSKI, CNN ENVIRONMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dursban is the most widely used home and garden pesticide in the United States. It's so common, studies show, most Americans carry traces of it in their bodies.
Today's agreement between the EPA and the pesticide's manufacturers will begin to change that.
Companies will stop making household products containing the chemical, that will cut production by 10 million pounds a year.
CAROL BROWNER, EPA ADMINISTRATOR: We are turning off the manufacturing of this chemical, as for all household -- virtually all household and garden uses.
PAWELSKI: The EPA is not issuing a recall. Stores can sell Dursban products already on hand. But some environmental groups say they will call on retailers not to.
RICHARD WILES, ENVIRONMENTAL WORKING GROUP: And we feel that those major retailers, the Wal-Marts, Loews, and Home Depots of the world, should pull Dursban products off the shelves immediately.
PAWELSKI: The reason for the ban: concerns over possible health effects, especially in children. Dursban, also known by its chemical name, chlorpyrifos, and by brand names including Lorsban, is essentially a nerve poison for insects. And at some exposures, it can affect human nervous systems, as well.
BROWNER: There are far too many instances, in my opinion, of children being exposed and becoming ill in the course of a year.
PAWELSKI: The pesticide's biggest manufacturer, Dow Chemical, says it still believes the substance is safe when used according to directions.
ELIN MILLER, DOW AGRO SCIENCES: Well, there's actually 30 years of use and about 3600 studies have been done on chlorpyrifos all leading to the conclusion that it is safe for use if used according to label instructions.
PAWELSKI: Dursban is the latest in a series of pesticides facing government scrutiny, mandated by Congress. A 1996 law requires the EPA to review possible health effects of pesticides with a particular emphasis on children, who are especially vulnerable to toxic chemicals.
WATERS: If children are in danger from these chemicals, why are the chemicals already on the shelf not being taken off?
PAWELSKI: Reading between the lines, that seems to have been part of the deal between the EPA and the manufacturers of these chemicals. Administrator Browner, the EPA administrator, said she wanted to get the manufacturers to stop making these products as quickly as possible, and in order to avoid a protracted legal battle, they agreed to let the companies sell what's already on the market.
WATERS: OK, Natalie Pawelski.
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