EPA to Restrict Use of Dangerous Pesticide

EPA has announced significant measures to protect drinking water sources and avoid harm to wild birds from the pesticide aldicarb. Comments on the proposal will be accepted until December 11, 2007.

For aldicarb to remain on the market, applicators will now have to limit both the amount of pesticide they use per treatment and the total number of applications they make each year, to safeguard drinking water sources in four southeastern states, and prevent bird kills across the country. American Bird Conservancy advocated for the pesticide to either be banned or have severe restrictions placed on its use to protect birds.

"If properly implemented, these rules mark a step forward for the protection of birds," said Dr. Michael Fry, Director of Conservation Advocacy for American Bird Conservancy. "Aldicarb is so toxic that a single granule is lethal if eaten by a songbird. American Bird Conservancy will be monitoring the EPA to ensure that these mitigation measures are in place."

Aldicarb, formulated and marketed solely as a granular pesticide under the trade name Temik® and produced by Bayer CropScience, is one of the most toxic insecticides on the market. Under federal regulations, each registered pesticide must undergo a technical review every 15 years to be eligible for continued registration.

To avoid a total cancellation by the EPA, Bayer had to agree during the review to withdraw uses on coffee, pecans, sugarcane, sorghum, tobacco, and alfalfa. Bayer agreed to significant reductions in annual use on the remaining crops, and improvements in application practices designed to prevent pesticide granules from remaining on the soil surface where they could be accessible to birds. Measures agreed upon for protection of birds include immediate plowing after application to cover any exposed granules left on the surface, and irrigation immediately after application to peanut fields.

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