Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Final Carbofuran Ban

This week the EPA announced its final ban on carbofuran residue in foods, to take effect by December.

The Environmental Protection Agency has revoked regulations that permitted small residues of the pesticide carbofuran in food. Carbofuran is a toxic insecticide that does not meet current U.S. food safety standards. EPA’s action will eliminate residues of carbofuran in food, including all imports, in a move to protect people, especially children, from dietary risk. Ultimately, EPA will remove this pesticide from the market.

EPA is proceeding to cancel the remaining carbofuran registrations, or licenses, which will address risks to pesticide applicators and birds in treated fields. In 2006, EPA identified significant dietary, ecological and worker risks from the use of carbofuran and concluded that all uses must be cancelled. While FMC Corporation voluntarily withdrew 22 uses of this pesticide, it was insufficient for the agency to conclude that dietary exposures to carbofuran are safe.

The final carbofuran tolerance rule becomes effective in December. EPA is encouraging growers to switch to safer pesticides or other environmentally preferable pest control strategies.
Carbofuran is a highly-toxic pesticide that has been implicated in deaths of many songbirds as well as human health problems. There is background information on the issue here, here, here, and here.