EPA Limits Consumer Options in Control of Pests

Washington, DC, June 8, 2000 – “Today, EPA has begun its effort to regulate away the public’s ability to protect itself from disease-carrying pests,” noted Angela Logomasini, Director of Risk and Domestic Environmental Policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.  The EPA announced this morning that it has decided to cancel certain uses of pesticides made with the chemical chlorpyrifos.  In the future, Americans will not be able to use this substance in homes, schools, day care centers, hospitals, nursing homes and malls.

“The EPA has taken this action by relying on dubious science, after more than 30 years of safe use,” noted Logomasini. “The EPA has decided to apply a standard that is hundreds of times more stringent than what the World Health Organization considers safe.  As the first of the many upcoming regulations on a class of chemicals called organophosphates, this action sets a dangerous precedent,” she continued.

The EPA seems to completely ignore the very real risks of living without pesticides.  Millions of people die every year in the developing world because they lack the pesticides and other resources to control pests.  Organophosphates are critical in protecting Americans from disease carrying ticks, roaches, mosquitoes, flies and other vectors.  The recent outbreak of the deadly West Nile Virus, which is carried by mosquitoes, highlights the public health importance of pesticides.

EPA bans promise to make it increasingly difficult for poor Americans to control serious pest problems.  Of particular concern for inner-city Americans are disease-carrying cockroaches.  Scientists are increasingly finding that cockroaches are a key contributor to asthma problems.  “With asthma rising within inner-city neighborhoods, it’s truly ironic that the nation’s leading environmental agency is taking action that places control options further out of reach of poor Americans.” Logomasini concluded.

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