October 23, 1995
Over 90 Countries Have Banned "Dirty Dozen" Pesticides
According to the 1995 "Demise of the Dirty Dozen" chart
recently released by the Pesticide Action Network, at least
90 countries have banned or restricted use of some of the
world's most hazardous pesticides, including 689 worldwide
bans on "Dirty Dozen" pesticides. The "Dirty Dozen" list
includes 18 of the world's most toxic pesticides that have
been linked to widespread human poisonings and severe health
The Dirty Dozen chart is an international report card listing
legislative actions taken against the Dirty Dozen pesticides,
including where these pesticides have been banned, severely
restricted or are not registered. The number of national bans
on these chemicals has grown from 53 in 1983 to 689 in 1995,
a 1300% increase. Seventy-two countries have banned or taken
other legislative action against DDT, while at least 80
countries have banned or severely restricted other Dirty
Dozen pesticides such as aldrin, dieldrin and endrin.
In many countries, growing rejection of toxic pesticides has
been accompanied by increased reliance on integrated pest
management (IPM) and other alternatives. "The good news is
that nearly 100 countries have taken action against these
deadly pesticides, showing widespread awareness of their
hazards," said Anne Schonfield of Pesticide Action Network
(PAN) North America. "The bad news is that these toxic
chemicals are still widely used and the U.S. and other
countries still export them, despite their extreme danger to
human health and the environment."
In the U.S., many Dirty Dozen pesticides are still used in
households and in agriculture despite demonstrated health and
environmental problems. Several lice-treatment shampoos sold
throughout the U.S. and other countries contain lindane, a
chemical linked to seizures, brain damage, increased rates of
lymphoma and fatal blood diseases. In September 1995,
aldicarb, one of the most acutely toxic pesticides in the
U.S., was approved for reintroduction by the Environmental
Protection Agency for use on potatoes in Washington, Oregon,
Idaho, Montana, Florida and selected counties in Utah and
Nevada. One drop of aldicarb absorbed through the skin is
enough to kill the average adult. In the largest single
pesticide food poisoning incident ever reported in North
America, 1,000 people were poisoned by aldicarb-tainted
watermelon in 1985.
Other Dirty Dozen pesticides pose health hazards in the U.S.
and around the world. In a recent study, North Carolina
researcher Jack K. Leiss cites a link between home
extermination chemicals, such as heptachlor and chlordane,
and childhood lymphomas. Though use of these pesticides is
severely restricted in the U.S., Velsicol Chemical
Corporation (U.S.) continues to export heptachlor and
chlordane to countries around the world. Based on data from
U.S. Customs records, 85% of the heptachlor exported by
Velsicol between 1991 and 1994 went to countries where its
use is prohibited by law.
Dirty Dozen pesticides such as aldicarb, aldrin, chlordane,
DDT, dieldrin and lindane are also endocrine disrupters.
These pesticides bioaccumulate in the tissues of humans and
wildlife, and may act as estrogen mimickers, scrambling
normal hormonal activities. These pesticides can contribute
to immunosuppression, birth defects and reproductive problems
in both humans and wildlife.
The Dirty Dozen pesticides were first targeted ten years ago
by the Pesticide Action Network, an international coalition
of over 400 environmental, labor, consumer, farmer and
women's groups. PAN groups work in over 60 countries to
reduce pesticide use and promote safe, environmentally-sound
alternatives. The 1995 chart was simultaneously released in
the U.S., Germany, Kenya, Malaysia, the Philippines and the
* The Dirty Dozen pesticides are aldicarb, camphechlor,
chlordane, heptachlor, chlordimeform, DBCP, DDT, the "drins"
(aldrin, dieldrin, endrin), EDB, HCH/BHC and lindane,
paraquat, parathion and methyl parathion, pentachlorphenol
(PCP) and 2,4,5-T.
Copies of the "Demise of the Dirty Dozen" chart are available
for US$5 from PANNA.
Source: Pesticide Action Network North America; Global
Pesticide Campaigner, September 1995.
Contact: Anne Schonfield, PANNA; David Buffin, The Pesticides
Trust (United Kingdom), phone (44-171) 274-8895, email
email@example.com; Jean Marie Fayemi, Environmental
Liaison Centre (Kenya), phone (254-2) 562-015, email
firstname.lastname@example.org; Nicanor Perlas, Center for
Alternative Development Initiatives (Philippines), phone (63-
2) 99-39-86; Sarojeni V. Rengam, PAN Asia and the Pacific
(Malaysia), phone (60-4) 657-0271,
email panap@GEO2.poptel.org.uk; Carina Weber, PAN Germany,
phone (49-40) 393-978, email email@example.com.
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