Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, April 7, 2016

Contact: Lori Ann Burd, (971) 717-6405,

EPA Analysis: 97 Percent of Endangered Species Threatened by Two Common Pesticides

 Study Marks First Time EPA Has Properly Examined Nationwide
Pesticide Impacts on Rare Animals, Plants

PORTLAND, Ore.— The Environmental Protection Agency’s first rigorous nationwide analysis of the effects of pesticides on endangered species finds that 97 percent of more than 1,700 animals and plants protected under the Endangered Species Act are likely to be hurt by malathion and chlorpyrifos. Another 79 percent are likely to be hurt by diazinon. The results released this week are the first in a series of biological evaluations the EPA must complete as part of a settlement with the Center for Biological Diversity examining impacts of pesticides on more than endangered species.

“For the first time in history, we finally have data showing just how catastrophically bad these pesticides are for endangered species — from birds and frogs to fish and plants,” said Lori Ann Burd, environmental health director at the Center. “These dangerous pesticides have been used without proper analysis for decades, and now’s the time to take this new information and create common-sense measures to protect plants, animals and people from these chemicals.” 

The three pesticides are all organophosphates, a dangerous old class of insecticides found in 87 percent of human umbilical-cord samples and widely used on crops such as corn, watermelon and wheat. The Center, along with allies from public-health, workers’ justice and child-advocacy groups, recently called for a ban on organophosphates, citing studies linking them to cognitive delays in children and a host of other human health effects. The World Health Organization last year announced that malathion and diazinon are probable carcinogens.

“The EPA has allowed chemical companies to register more than 16,000 pesticides without properly considering their impacts. That has to stop,” said Burd. “These evaluations are a huge step forward for the EPA. Now that we know the magnitude of danger these pesticides pose, it’s clear we need to take action. The EPA must move forward with analyses for other dangerous pesticides and also quickly implement on-the-ground efforts to prevent the extinction of rare and unique wildlife from these pesticides.” 

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 990,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Go back