Dirty Dozen Pesticides: Banned But Still Traded
April 9, 1999
A review of recent U.S. exports of the Pesticide Action Network's
Dirty Dozen pesticides indicates that a national ban is not sufficient
to prevent a pesticide from entering a country.
According to U.S. Customs records examined by the Foundation
for Advancements in Science and Education (FASE), during the
years 1995 and 1996 more than 3.3 million pounds of Dirty Dozen
pesticides were exported to countries which had banned them. The
review was the latest report from a project that FASE began in 1991
to document the trade in hazardous pesticides through analysis of
U.S. Customs shipping records.
The Pesticide Action Network (PAN) International's list of "Dirty
Dozen" pesticides includes 18 highly toxic chemicals including
aldicarb, chlordane, EDB, heptachlor, parathion, pentachlorophenol
Chlordane exports accounted for 2.5 million pounds of total U.S.
Dirty Dozen exports. Nearly two million pounds were shipped to
Brazil; 430,950 pounds to Singapore; and 44,200 pounds to the
Netherlands. Overall, 95% (by volume) of chlordane shipments that
appear in U.S. Customs records for 1995 and 1996 were to
countries that had regulations banning the chemical.
During 1995-1996, over 225,000 pounds of heptachlor were
shipped to countries that had banned the chemical including, 93,528
pounds to the Netherlands in 1995 and 129,900 pounds to Brazil in
1996. Of the heptachlor shipments noted in Customs records, 65%
(by volume) were to countries that had banned the chemical.
In its 1997 announcement that it would discontinue chlordane and
heptachlor production before the end of the year, Velsicol Chemical
Corporation stated that it had been exporting chlordane and
heptachlor "for major road building projects in Africa, protection of
residential structures in tropical regions such as Northeastern
Australia and the Far East, and as a soil insecticide to protect crops
in South America." Such uses of these highly toxic chemicals were
banned 10 to 20 years ago in the United States.
Aldicarb, a WHO Class Ia ("extremely hazardous") pesticide with an
oral toxicity of less than 1 mg/kg, is banned in Argentina. However,
shipments to Argentina were noted at an average rate of over six
tons per month during 1995 and 1996, a total of more than 300,000
Paraquat, another highly toxic pesticide, was exported to the
Dominican Republic, where its use has been banned. U.S. shippers
exported 120,015 pounds in 1995 and 75,477 in 1996. Other
hazardous chemicals exported to countries that had banned them
included pentachlorophenol (42,544 pounds to Thailand in 1995)
and EDB (34,992 pounds to Belgium in 1996).
In reviewing exports over the last eight years, FASE project staff
have noted that the majority of pesticide shipments &emdash; as
many as two-thirds or more &emdash; are described in U.S.
Customs records in such generic or cryptic terms that the specific
chemical cannot be identified. This lack of comprehensive and
accurate data is a barrier to effective monitoring and enforcement of
"These shipments are examples of the gap that can exist between
regulatory goals and reality," said Carl Smith, project director for
FASE, who points out that the Dirty Dozen shipments do not appear
to violate any U.S. policy. "International treaties such as the Prior
Informed Consent (PIC) and Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)
agreements can set the stage for reducing trade in hazardous
chemicals &emdash; but the real-world situation doesn't change
unless they're implemented. If we want to keep the implementation
process honest, we need good data in the public record."
Source: Global Pesticide Campaigner (PAN North America), April
Contact: Foundation for Advancements in Science and Education
(FASE), 4801 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90037; phone
(323) 937-9911; fax (323) 937-7440; email email@example.com.
Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA)
49 Powell St., Suite 500, San Francisco, CA 94102 USA
Phone: (415) 981-1771
Fax: (415) 981-1991
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