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Lawsuit Seeks Ban of Common OH Farm Pesticide

July 23, 2010

COLUMBUS, Ohio - A pesticide commonly used on Ohio farm fields and orchards is the target of a lawsuit filed Thursday, asking for a national ban by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Chlorpyrifos, also sold as Lorsban, combats insects by causing nerve damage, but watchdog groups say it can do the same to humans. The chemical was banned for household use in the U.S. about ten years ago. The Natural Resources Defense Council and the Pesticide Action Network have objected to its continued use in agriculture, and their attorney, Kevin Regan with Earthjustice, says the EPA has had their petition for three years without taking action on it.

"As far as pesticides go, this is one of the worst of the worst. Science clearly shows that chlorpyrifos doesn't just poison insects, it poisons people. And, our suit is attempting to get EPA to take action and make a decision, once and for all."

The chemical's manufacturer, Dow AgroSciences, says chlorpyrifos has been the subject of more than 500 studies, which, in its words, are "largely reassuring" about its effects on human health and the environment.

Regan says the EPA reevaluates pesticides every 15 years, and is not scheduled to act on chlorpyrifos until 2015. So, the suit is an attempt to speed up the process.

"Right now, the United States is behind the curve with a number of other nations. Countries all over the world - for example, recently, South Africa - have already completely banned use of chloropyrifos. We believe it's time for EPA to take action."

The suit was filed in the Southern District of New York. Pesticide Action Network background on the chemical is at The Dow AgroChemical rebuttal site is

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH