National Drinking Water Database
Carbofuran in New York
Carbofuran is a highly toxic insecticide and soil fumigant that had been used on corn, rice and alfalfa; it poses severe risks to children (via diet), agricultural workers and the environment. [read more]
Carbofuran is an insecticide used mostly on corn, rice and alfalfa, and can be found in water as a result of agricultural runoff as well as releases from the pesticide production industry (California Environmental Protection Agency 2000a). It kills insects and poses human health risks by impairing the function of the nervous system. Carbofuran decreases activity of an important enzyme (cholinesterase) that inactivates a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, resulting in chronic, life-threatening neuronal excitation.
In 2009, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a final rule revoking all carbofuran tolerances (residue limits in food). EPA has concluded that dietary risks to children, health risks to agricultural workers, and severe ecological toxicity are unacceptable for all uses of carbofuran. All products containing carbofuran generally cause unreasonable adverse effects on humans and the environment and do not meet safety standards (USEPA 2009g).
Carbofuran is highly toxic to birds, fish and amphibians. Long-term exposure in laboratory animals can lead to changes in the lung, heart, kidney, thyroid and testes (California Department of Pesticide Regulation 2003). Also, carbofuran can cause cellular damage to the male reproductive system and decrease sperm count and sperm quality (California Department of Pesticide Regulation 2003). Laboratory animals exposed to carbofuran during development experience delayed learning and sexual maturation along with impaired memory function (California Department of Pesticide Regulation 2003).
In people, carbofuran poisoning produces symptoms such as headaches, tiredness, nausea, diarrhea, blurred vision, sweating, muscle twitches, chest tightness, decreased heart rate and tingling or numbness in the legs and arms. In one case, a pregnant woman was poisoned with carbofuran and although she survived, her fetus did not, even though blood levels of carbofuran were similar in the mother and fetus (Klys 1989). People exposed to carbofuran in drinking water over many years could experience problems with their blood or with nervous or reproductive systems (USEPA 2009b).
The Most Polluted Communities in New York
1 water utilities reported detecting Carbofuran in tap water since 2004, according to EWG's analysis of water quality data supplied by state water agencies
Ranked by highest average Carbofuran level
|Rank||System||Population Served||Positive test results of total reported tests||Average Level|
|1||Mcwa, Genesee West|
|800||1 of 2||0.45 ppb|
(0 to 0.9 ppb)
Health Based Limits for Carbofuran
|California Public Health Goals||Defined by the State of California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) as the level of contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. For acutely toxic substances, levels are set at which scientific evidence indicates that no known or anticipated adverse effects on health will occur, plus an adequate margin-of safety. PHGs for carcinogens or other substances which can cause chronic disease shall be based solely on health effects without regard to cost impacts and shall be set at levels which OEHHA has determined do not pose any significant risk to health.||1.7 ppb|
|Maximum Contaminant Limit (MCL)||The enforceable standard which defines the highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. MCLs are set as close to health-based limits (Maximum Contaminant Level Goals, or MCLGs) as feasible using the best available analytical and treatment technologies and taking cost into consideration. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.||40 ppb|
|Maximum Contaminant Limit Goal (MCLG)||A non-enforceable health goal that is set at a level at which no known or anticipated adverse effect on the health of persons occurs and which allows an adequate margin of safety. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.||40 ppb|
Violation Summary for Carbofuran in New York
Data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency includes the following violations of federal standards in New York since 2004
|Violation Type||Number of Violations|
|Failure to monitor regularly||102|