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Pesticide News Story: Endosulfan Phase-out Agreement to Protect Health of Farmworkers and Wildlife

For Release: August 3, 2010

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking action to end the use of the pesticide endosulfan because it can pose unacceptable health risks to farmworkers and wildlife and can persist in the environment. A formal Memorandum of Agreement with manufacturers of the agricultural insecticide will result in voluntary cancellation and phase-out of all existing endosulfan uses in the United States. Terminating uses of endosulfan will address its unacceptable risks to agricultural workers and wildlife.

Endosulfan is an organochlorine insecticide that can be used on a wide variety of vegetables and fruits, cotton, and ornamental plants. It has no residential uses. Endosulfan is used on a very small percentage of the U.S. food supply and does not present a risk to human health from dietary exposure.

Under the agreement, most currently approved endosulfan crop uses will end in two years, including over 30 crop uses plus use on ornamental trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants. About 12 other crop uses will end over the following four years. Of these 12, the last 4 endosulfan uses will end on July 31, 2016. The agreement provides extra time for the later uses to phase out so that growers may successfully transition to lower risk pest control strategies, especially where endosulfan affords significant benefits and few alternatives are available. For all uses except the first ones to phase out, EPA is requiring additional mitigation measures during the phase-out period to minimize worker risks associated with endosulfan use on these crops.

By the end of 2010, each endosulfan end-use product label will include a table showing the exact dates when it will become unlawful to use the product on the crops included on the label. A list of endosulfan uses and phase-out dates is available in the agreement and on EPA’s website.

EPA plans to publish a Federal Register notice by September announcing receipt of the registrants’ requests for voluntary cancellation and amendments of endosulfan product registrations. Public comment will be invited for 30 days. The Agency expects to grant the requested cancellations and amendments shortly after the close of the comment period.

The Memorandum of Agreement is available at EPA-HQ-OPP-2002-0262-0181, and other documents related to EPA’s reevaluation of endosulfan are also posted in docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2002-0262 at http://www.regulations.gov.

For more information: http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/reregistration/endosulfan/endosulfan-agreement.html

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