US Exports More and More Poison Pesticides

US Exports More and More
Poison Pesticides

IN 1997-2000 BY 15% FROM 1992-1996,

From Agribusiness Examiner #142 Feb. 4, 2002 by Al Krebs
Originally from <>

billion pounds of pesticide products were exported from U.S. ports between
1997 and 2000, according to a Foundation for Advancements in Science
and Education (FASE) analysis of Customs records recently published in
the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health (IJOEH).
This average rate of almost 2.2 million pounds per day --- or 45 tons per
hour --- represents a 15% increase over the rate of 936 tons per day
documented for the years 1992-1996.

Nearly 65 million pounds of pesticides were exported between 1997 and 2000
that are banned or severely restricted in the United States, an average of
more than 22 tons per day. Although no exports of banned products were
recorded for the year 2000, shipments of several banned pesticides --
including captafol, chlordane, isazofos, monocrotophos and mirex --- were
noted between 1997 and 1999.

Fifty-seven percent of these products were shipped to destinations in the
developing world and almost half of the remaining 43% were shipped to ports
in Belgium and the Netherlands, with possible final destinations in
developing countries.

"Pesticide poisoning has long been a problem in developing countries," said
Joe LaDou, the editor of IJOEH. Dr. LaDou solicited a series of papers on
international pesticide use and integrated pest management (IPM) that will
fill three volumes of the journal. "These researchers and public policy
experts have revealed that the problem of international pesticide use has
greater dimensions than most public health and public policy experts
recognize. There is an urgent need for greater attention to these issues,
and increased funding for research into occupational and environmental
health effects," LaDou commented.

The FASE export report is the latest in an ongoing series that the
foundation has published since 1990. Among the other findings:

* In the four-year period studied, at least 89 million pounds of pesticides
were exported that have been designated "extremely hazardous" by the World
Health Organization, an average rate of more than 30 tons per day. Exports
of EPA "Class I," or highly toxic, products totaled over 140 million pounds
between 1997 and 2000, or an average rate of just over two tons per hour.

* Products that have never been registered in the U.S. were exported at an
average rate of at least 16 tons per day during the four years examined,
with the total for such products possibly being much larger. The largest
volume never-registered chemicals were butachlor (nearly 14 million pounds
total) and carbosulfan (10.2 million pounds).

* Total exports of "restricted use" pesticides --- those that may only be
purchased and used by state-certified applicators in the U.S. but that are
often available to the general public in developing countries --- exceeded
284 million pounds over the four-year period examined, an average rate of
four tons per hour. Although exports of such pesticides
totaled more than six million pounds less in 2000 than in 1997, the export
of the ozone-depleting chemical methyl bromide was 68% higher in 2000 than
four years earlier.

* Nearly 1.1 billion pounds of pesticides were exported that have been
identified as known or suspected carcinogens, an average rate of almost 16
tons per hour.

FASE gathered the data using commercial transcriptions of U.S. Customs
records of shipments from U.S. Ports. Although this is the most
comprehensive source of export information available in the public record,
FASE emphasizes that it remains only a partial source of production and
trade information since many details are protected as
"confidential business information."

The paper's recommendations for decreasing pesticide use include prohibiting
the export of banned or never registered pesticides from the U.S.;
empowering the EPA to evaluate fully the hazards posed by pesticides leaving
the U.S. and giving the agency the authority to act on its findings; and
improving the quality and quantity of information regarding pesticide
production, trade and use and putting the information in the public record.

"The fact that no banned products were exported in 2000 seems to indicate
that recent international efforts such as the PIC (Prior Informed Consent)
and POPs (Persistent Organic Pollutants) treaties are making a difference,"
said FASE Vice President Carl Smith, who authored the IJOEH paper. "But
exports of products that cannot be safely used in developing countries
remain unacceptably high. There can be no double
standard for protecting health and the environment."

Source: Excerpted from a paper originally published in International Journal
of Occupational and Environmental Health (Vol. 7, No. 4). The next two
issues in IJOEH's Special Series will present the health effects of
international pesticide use (Vol. 8, No. 1, available late January 2002) and
IPM in developing countries (Vol. 8, No. 3, available August 2002). Contact
IJOEH, 210 South 13th Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107; phone (800)
962-1892 (U.S. only) or (215) 546-4995; fax (215) 790-9330; email; Web site

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