WASHINGTON, June 8 -- The Environmental Protection Agency Thursday curtailed the use of pesticide chlorpyrifos -- sold under the brand names Dursban and Lorsban -- saying it poses a danger to children.
The pesticide, commonly used in gardens, homes and in agriculture, are organophosphates, which attack the nervous system.
"Today's action is a major step in the Clinton-Gore administration's on-going efforts to better protect public health, especially the health of children," EPA Administrator Carol M. Browner said.
"Chlorpyrifos is part of a class of older, riskier pesticides, some going back 50 years. Exposure to these kinds of pesticides can cause neurological effects. Now that we have completed the most extensive scientific evaluation ever conducted on the potential health hazards from a pesticide, it is clear the time has come to take action to protect our children from exposure to this chemical."
Exposure to the chemical can cause nausea, headaches, vomiting, diarrhea and general weakness. Children are especially susceptible.
The EPA said production of chlorpyrifos for home, lawn and garden uses will cease by the end of the year and its use in agriculture will be significantly curtailed.
"Today's action also calls for canceling or significantly lowering allowable residues for several foods regularly eaten by children, such as tomatoes, apples and grapes," the EPA said. "These actions will be taken by the beginning of the next growing season."
Use as a termite remedy will be phased out by 2001.
The action is the second taken by the government under the Food Quality Protection Act. Last August, use of methyl parathion and azinphos methyl were targeted.
The chemical primarily is produced by DowAgroSciences of Indianapolis and used in approximately 825 registered products. Products containing the chemical will remain on store shelves.