EPA sharply restricts consumer use of diazinon, nation's #2 selling home and garden insecticide

Washington— Citing excessive risk to children, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today moved to sharply restrict consumer use of diazinon, the nation's #2 selling home and garden insecticide. EPA scientists found the product exceeded safety standards by a wide margin. The action follows on the heels of the EPA's June 8 announcement banning Dursban, the nation's #1 selling home bug killer. Like the Dursban decision, however, the EPA's agreement with diazinon's manufacturer, Syngenta (formerly Novartis), will allow the toxic chemical to remain on store shelves until current stocks are exhausted.

"This is probably the best that EPA could do for consumers in the face of pressure from a pesticide industry that’s exposed people to unsafe products for decades," said Richard Wiles, Environmental Working Group (EWG) Vice President for Research. "With this action, EPA will remove from home use the last member of a notorious family of insecticides that should have been banned long, long ago. Retailers should pull products containing diazanon off store shelves immediately."

Formulations of diazinon are sold under the names Spectracide, Real-Kill, Hot Shots, Ortho, and No Pest, among others, and its most common use is outdoor application by homeowners. EWG today wrote major retailers, such as Home Depot, asking them to immediately stop selling diazinon products in the wake of the EPA's decision.

The EPA action on diazinon comes as a result of the 1996 Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA), which started the process of reassessing pesticides in order to protect children. Children are especially vulnerable to pesticides because of their size, their developing brains and nervous systems, and because they consume foods likely to contain pesticides. EPA’s risk assessment for diazinon from this June showed risk levels for toddlers from home uses up to 10,000 times what the agency considers a safe dose.

Both diazinon and Dursban are organophosphates, nerve gas derivatives originally developed during World War II. These chemicals were identified as top priorities for regulation by the EPA after the FQPA passed, due to the high risk that they present to the developing brains and nervous systems of infants and children.

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