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Chemical Threat: Groups Call for Pesticide Ban

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Pesticide Action Network


October 13, 2010

CONTACT: Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA)
Carol Dansereau, Farm Worker Pesticide
Project, 206-729-0498;
Stephenie Hendricks, 415-258-9151,  
Ana Duncan Pardo, Toxic-Free North
Carolina, (919) 818-5933,  

Consumers, Parents, Health Advocates, Farm Workers and Others Target 
Widely Used Pesticides Linked to Attention and Learning Problems

YAKIMA, Wash. - October 13 - 13,000 individuals and organizations from across the U.S. sent a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today calling for a ban on the pesticide chlorpyrifos and a phase out of other organophosphate (OP) pesticides. 

Dr. Theo Colborn's organization TEDX (The Endocrine Disruption Exchange) concurrently announced the addition of chlorpyrifos to their publicly-accessible on-line database, Critical Windows of Development, spotlighting animal research that links prenatal, low dose chlorpyrifos exposure to altered health outcomes in the brain and other organs (

"Human studies have now linked prenatal exposure to chlorpyrifos with mental and developmental delays emphasizing even more the urgency to remove the product from the market," said Colborn, President of TEDX and a signatory on the letter. "Chlorpyrifos illustrates the urgent need to be cautious, prevent further exposure and protect our children from the time they are conceived onward," she said. 

Dr. David Carpenter, M.D. and Director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University of Albany said, "It is unacceptable that farm worker children, and children in the general population continue to be exposed to these neurotoxins."

"As more families cope with the suffering and costs of learning and developmental disabilities and attention problems, EPA must prevent further exposures to neurotoxic pesticides," said Maureen Swanson of the Learning Disabilities Association of America. "EPA needs to protect people, especially children and pregnant women, from any chemical that threatens brain development. In addition to banning neurotoxic pesticides, we must reform the Toxic Substance Control Act to require EPA to address the many neurotoxic chemicals in our everyday products," she said.

"The last time EPA reviewed these pesticides, its own scientists complained that the Agency was not assuring adequate protection of the nation's children, and that it was unduly influenced by those it regulates," said Dr. William Hirzy, a professor at American University in Washington D.C. and a former EPA chemist. While at EPA, Hirzy was involved in a letter raising these concerns sent to management by six unions representing 9000 EPA scientists and other staff, as the Agency was finalizing its Cumulative Risk Assessment for organophosphates in 2006. "Five years later, with even more sobering studies in hand, will EPA finally act to protect children?" Hirzy asked.

"The warning signs have been obvious for decades, yet EPA has allowed generation after generation to suffer exposures and consequences," said Carol Dansereau, Executive Director of the Farm Worker Pesticide Project, a Washington State farm worker organization that initiated the letter to EPA. "EPA is promising to better protect children and other vulnerable people, but that promise is meaningless as long as it keeps reregistering chlorpyrifos and other organophosphates, " she said. FWPP and others are asking the public to contact EPA and join in demanding a ban, and precaution-based policies.

"Unfortunately chlorpyrifos and other organophosphates do not stay where sprayed. They evaporate and move with wind and fog. That's how they contaminated our fields," said Larry Jacobs of Jacobs Farm/Del Cabo, an organic grower in California. "There are better ways to manage insect pests than depending on organophosphates like chlorpyrifos. We signed onto the letter to EPA to protect our health and to protect our farm."

EPA is in the process of considering re-registration for chlorpyrifos, one of the most widely used pesticides in agriculture in the US and worldwide.

Available for Interviews: Partial List

Carol Dansereau, Farm Worker Pesticide Project, FWPP initiated the letter; 206-729-0498;

Dr. David Carpenter, Director, Inst. for Health and the Environment, University of Albany, 518-525-2660

Dr. William Hirzy, American University in Washington, D.C., former US EPA employee (202)885-1780

Dr. Theo Colborn, President, TEDX, The Endocrine Disruption Exchange; 950-527-4082

Margaret Reeves, senior scientist, Pesticide Action Network North America, 415-981-6205 x 326

Erik Nicholson, United Farm Workers of America (UFW), Maria Machuca, Communications Director, 661-837-9828

Maureen Swanson, Learning Disability Association, (724)813-9684 (cell),

More Information:

1) Additional People to Contact (

2) Fact Sheets: On Health Effects, Industry Influence on EPA, Regulatory Status, Use/Exposures/Alternatives, the Letter and Signers (


PANNA (Pesticide Action Network North America) works to replace pesticide use with ecologically sound and socially just alternatives. As one of five autonomous PAN Regional Centers worldwide, we link local and international consumer, labor, health, environment and agriculture groups into an international citizens' action network. This network challenges the global proliferation of pesticides, defends basic rights to health and environmental quality, and works to ensure the transition to a just and viable society.

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