EPA Approves more Toxic Pesticides

The Center for Biological Diversity released a report yesterday, looking at recent pesticide product approvals by the EPA:

“We found that in 2017 and 2018, the EPA approved many pesticide products containing ingredients widely considered to be the most dangerous still in use, including some that have been banned in multiple countries or targeted for replacement in the United States. 

This includes 

  • 15 new products containing neurotoxic carbamates or organophosphates, including chlorpyrifos.
  • 17 new products containing the endocrine disruptor atrazine.
  • 6 new products containing paraquat, which is so lethal that one spoonful can kill a full-grown adult.
  • 4 new products containing the extremely dangerous airborne fumigants methyl bromide or chloropicrin.
  • 91 new restricted-use pesticides, so dangerous they can only be applied by a professional.
  • 69 new products containing an ingredient the EPA recognizes as a “known” or “likely” carcinogen

In addition to containing harmful individual ingredients, we found that 1 in every 3 products that have been approved in the past two years contains more than one active ingredient, despite the fact that most toxicity tests only look at exposure to a single active ingredient at a time. 

This indicates that the EPA is not only allowing some of the most harmful pesticides to continue to be used but actively facilitating their further use by approving new products with those same ingredients. Shockingly, this is even the case for highly hazardous pesticides for which the EPA has mandated use reductions or incentivized replacement, like organophosphates, methyl bromide and atrazine. 

Many on this list have spent a good chunk of their lives fighting against some of these awful pesticides and we deserve better than an agency that keeps approving new products that contain them. 



Nathan Donley, Ph.D

Senior Scientist, Center for Biological Diversity