In contrast with different world agricultural powerhouses, the US has lax restrictions on probably dangerous pesticides, a research suggests.
An evaluation of agricultural pesticide laws reveals that the US broadly makes use of a number of chemical compounds which might be banned or being phased out within the European Union, Brazil and China — three of the world’s different main pesticide customers.
What’s extra, most agricultural pesticides phased out in the US are discontinued by the pesticide business, fairly than banned by the Environmental Safety Company. Environmental well being researcher Nathan Donley with the Heart for Organic Variety, an environmental group in Portland, Ore., experiences these findings on-line June 7 in Environmental Well being.
Donley reviewed the approval standing of over 500 pesticides which were utilized in the US. Presently, 72, 17 and 11 pesticides authorised in the US are banned or being phased out within the EU, Brazil and China, respectively. These embody chemical compounds which were implicated in pesticide poisonings in the US, like chloropicrin and paraquat (SN: 3/26/11, p. 26). Solely two, three and two pesticides banned in the US are authorised within the EU, Brazil and China.
Utilizing the U.S. Geological Survey’s document of estimated annual pesticide use, Donley decided how a lot U.S. agriculture makes use of pesticides outlawed elsewhere. Of the 544 million kilograms of pesticides used within the nation in 2016, 146 million, 12 million and 18 million kilograms comprised chemical compounds banned within the EU, Brazil and China.
For the reason that EPA was shaped in 1970, 134 pesticides have been discontinued in the US. The EPA prohibited 37 of these, and solely 5 within the final 18 years. Pesticide producers voluntarily withdrew the opposite 97. In lots of instances, that is doubtless as a result of the pesticides offered poorly, and it’s costly to keep up EPA approval, Donley suggests. A number of chemical compounds confirmed a steep decline in utilization earlier than cancellation.
The imbalance between voluntary cancellations and authorities laws creates a bias towards pesticide use in the US based mostly on financial elements, fairly than well being and environmental dangers, Donley argues. Voluntary phaseouts may also drag on far longer than the one-year grace interval typical of government-imposed bans.