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Pesticide Sales Ban--Dursban (Chlorpyrifos)
As you may have heard, the U.S. EPA has announced an agreement to end
most uses of the organophosphate pesticide Dursban (Chlorpyrifos, also
sold under many other trade names). Since this announcement has been
getting a good deal of press, you may be contacted regarding this ban.
Here is a bit of key information that may be important for those working
in pollution prevention:
Why was it banned?
The pesticide sales and use ban was primarily due to concerns for human
health effects, especially potential effects on children. The EPA and
many other government officials are also concerned about the
environmental effects of chlorpyrifos, which include effects on
beneficial insects and on water quality.
What should people do with their current supply of dursban products?
If they are a resident, they should take it to a household hazardous
waste facility or event (they can contact their local government for
information). If they are a business, they should arrange to send it
back to their supplier. ****It is VERY important that people do not
pour this pesticide down the drain or put it it in the trash.****
What are the alternatives?
Many alternatives exist to control the pests that dursban was used to
control. Switching to a non-chemical or least toxic chemical control
method is best. Practical information on such pest control methods
(generally knows as "integrated pest management") is available on many
web sites. Here are a few especially good, practical sources for homes
and urban businesses:
Switching to another chemical is not a great idea--most of the
alternatives have not yet been reviewed by EPA for effects on children's
health and on water quality. Future bans of some of the alternative
chemicals are likely (and will require yet another change on the part of
the consumer). Switching now to integrated pest management would be P2,
will prevent future problems, and will avoid the likely need in the
future for another switch.