Toxic Pesticides Banned in Other Countries Continue to be used in U.S.

Thursday, October 30, 2014
(photo: Science Daily)

Farm chemicals banned by European and Asian countries are still being used, often in large measure, across the United States.


At least five pesticides being applied to American farms have been outlawed overseas.

Some of the most popular are neonicotinoids, which farmers use widely on corn and soybean crops—even though federal environmental regulators dispute their benefits on soybeans. “There are no clear or consistent economic benefits of neonicotinoid seed treatments,” the Environmental Protection Agency said in a study. Neonicotinoids act as a nerve agent on honeybees. Three types (imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam) are no longer allowed in the European Union.


Another chemical banned in Europe as well as China is paraquat, which kills weeds and was famously used in marijuana eradication efforts in Mexico. It may also cause Parkinson’s disease.


Yet another pesticide, 1,3-D (short for 1,3-Dichloropropene, or Telone), is widely employed in California, the nation’s largest agricultural state. “Growers inject it into the ground to sterilize the soil before planting,” Rachael Bale at the Center for Investigative Reporting wrote. “But the gas evaporates easily; sometimes, it escapes from beneath its tarp and travels into nearby communities, where it poses a cancer risk to residents.”


Canada, Brazil, Sri Lanka and the Netherlands have or will soon impose restrictions or bans on glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer, the most heavily used pesticide in the United States.


The pesticide atrazine has been used so much in the U.S. that 90% of water supplies tested positive for the chemical. Atrazine has been linked to birth defects, hormone problems and immune system issues. The EU barred its use in 2004.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

5 Pesticides Used in U.S. are Banned in Other Countries (by Rachael Bale, Center for Investigative Reporting)

Banned in Europe, Safe in the U.S. (by Elizabeth Grossman, Ensia)

EU Pesticide Bans ‘Could Hit UK Crops’ (by Tom Heap, BBC News)

Is the State Going to Replace One Awful Pesticide with an Even Worse One? (by Ken Broder, AllGov California)

Study Links Brain Abnormalities to Dow Chemical Pesticide (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

The Pesticide that Won’t Go Away…Watch Your Strawberries (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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