For Immediate Release, June 6, 2019
Nathan Donley, (971) 717-6406, firstname.lastname@example.org
New Study: United States Uses 85 Pesticides Outlawed in Other Countries
Harmful Poisons Shunned Elsewhere Account for Quarter of All U.S. Pesticide Use
PORTLAND, Ore.— The United States allows the use of 85 pesticides that have been banned or are being phased out in the European Union, China or Brazil, according to a peer-reviewed study published today by the academic journal Environmental Health.
In 2016 the United States used 322 million pounds of pesticides that are banned in the E.U., accounting for more than one-quarter of all agricultural pesticide use in this country, according to the study. U.S. applicators also used 40 million pounds of pesticides that are banned or being phased out in China and 26 million pounds of pesticides that are banned or being phased out in Brazil.
“It’s appalling the U.S. lags so far behind these major agricultural powers in banning harmful pesticides,” said Nathan Donley, a senior scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity and author of the study. “The fact that we’re still using hundreds of millions of pounds of poisons other nations have wisely rejected as too risky spotlights our dangerously lax approach to phasing out hazardous pesticides.”
The study compared the approval status of more than 500 pesticides used in outdoor applications in the world’s four largest agricultural economies: the United States, European Union, China and Brazil.
The study concludes that deficiencies in the U.S. pesticide regulatory process are the likely cause of the country failing to ban or phase out pesticides that the E.U., China and Brazil have prohibited.
The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act gives the U.S. EPA significant discretion on which pesticides to cancel and makes the EPA-initiated, nonvoluntary cancellation process particularly onerous and politically fraught. This has, in effect, made pesticide cancellation in the United States largely a voluntary endeavor by the pesticide industry itself. As a result, pesticide cancellations in the U.S. are more often economic decisions rather than decisions made to protect human or environmental health.
“Bans are the most effective way to prevent exposures to highly hazardous pesticides and can spur the transition to safer alternatives,” said Donley. “A combination of weak laws and the EPA’s broken pesticide regulatory process has allowed the pesticide industry to dictate which pesticides stay in use. That process undermines the safety of agricultural workers and anyone who eats food and drinks water in this country.”
The U.S. EPA’s Pesticide Office has come under intense scrutiny in recent years as a result of numerous scandals, including:
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.4 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.