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Pesticide Action Network
DowElanco Agrees to Restrict Dursban
January 24, 1997
**The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and pesticide
manufacturer DowElanco have started discussions to place restrictions on
household use of Dursban (chlorpyrifos), one of the most widely used
insecticides in the U.S...**
**DowElanco's announcement comes less than two months after a national
coalition of pesticide reform groups* called on EPA to strengthen
chlorpyrifos regulations. In a letter sent to EPA in November 1996, the
coalition demanded that EPA make several changes in how the pesticide is
regulated, including that the agency restrict all use of chlorpyrifos to
certified Pest Control Operators (professional pesticide applicators),
ban use of chlorpyrifos on pets, ban use in any indoor environment and
require DowElanco to add warnings to its product labels about symptoms of
**On January 15, 1997, EPA Assistant Administrator Lynn Goldman sent a
letter about chlorpyrifos to DowElanco's president and CEO in which she
stated that "EPA believes that it is important to strengthen the
protections via changes in the registrations and labeling for this
pesticide to prevent potentially harmful exposures."
**The letter described ten measures that EPA believes constitute a
framework for reaching agreement with DowElanco about chlorpyrifos
products. These measures included withdrawing chlorpyrifos from the
indoor broadcast flea control market, the indoor total release fogger
market, the paint additive market and the direct applications pet care
market (shampoos, dips and sprays). Additional measures included changing
labels to prohibit use in inappropriate areas such as on furniture or
toys; revising re-treatment intervals to prevent buildup of the pesticide
in homes; accelerating education and training for Pest Control Operators
to reduce risk and exposure; and establishing a panel of experts to
provide scientific direction for an epidemiological study on
**According to Dennis McNeilly, an official at EPA's Office of Pesticide
Programs, DowElanco and EPA have agreed, in principle, to most of these
points, but that specific language and many details have not yet been
settled. McNeilly stated that many of the measures described in Lynn
Goldman's letter to DowElanco may be agreed upon fairly quickly; however,
he stated that it may take longer to agree to changes in the language on
Dursban product labels.
**Several recent studies have examined health impacts from exposure to
chlorpyrifos. On January 14, 1997, EPA released "Review of Chlorpyrifos
Poisoning Data," a report on chlorpyrifos poisoning incidents in the U.S.
Albert Donnay, of MCS Referral and Resources, also recently studied
chlorpyrifos poisoning incidents. In a presentation at the the American
Public Health Association's 1996 annual meeting, Donnay stated that most
of the poisoning cases he examined involved routine exposures in which
chlorpyrifos was used as directed. The most common symptoms included
chronic headaches, nausea, vomiting, breathing difficulties,
neuromuscular pains and multiple chemical sensitivity. An additional
study presented at the same meeting documented eight cases of serious
birth defects seen in children whose mothers were exposed to chlorpyrifos
during the first three months of pregnancy.
**Previous studies have indicated that infants are more susceptible to
chlorpyrifos poisoning than adults, according to the Northwest Coalition
for Alternatives to Pesticides (NCAP). In addition, EPA has stated that
children are more likely to be exposed to chlorpyrifos and that children
under age six account for nearly half of the accidental exposures to
chlorpyrifos reported to Poison Control Centers nationwide. Chlorpyrifos
is used to control a range of agricultural, structural and household
pests, including aphids, cockroaches, fleas, ticks, termites and many
*The coalition included Environmental Working Group, MCS Referral &
Resources, Mothers & Others for a Liveable Planet, National Coalition
Against the Misuse of Pesticides, Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to
Pesticides, New York Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides, Pesticide
Action Network North America and the Rachel Carson Council.
Sources: "EPA, DowElanco Agree on Ten Point Program to Further Safe Use
of Dursban," DowElanco Press Release, January 15, 1997.
"Researchers Link Common Household Insecticide with Serious Birth Defects
and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity," MCS Referral & Resources Press
Release, November 20, 1996.
"EPA Announces 'Framework for Agreement' with DownElanco on
Chlorpyrifos," MCS Referral & Resources Press Release, January 16, 1997.
Letter from Lynn Goldman, M.D., Assistant Administrator, U.S. EPA, to
John Hagaman, President and CEO, DowElanco, January 14, 1997.
Dennis McNeilly, U.S. EPA Office of Pesticide Programs, personal
communication, January 24, 1997.
Questions and Answers: Chlorpyrifos. U.S. EPA, January 11, 1995.
Chlorpyrifos, Part 2: Human Exposure. Journal of Pesticide Reform, Vol.
15, No. 1, Spring 1995. Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to
Contact: MCS Referral & Resources, 508 Westgate Road, Baltimore, MD
21229; phone (410) 448-3319; fax (410)