PAN ALERT: Tell EPA to stand firm on fumigants
Update: The subsmission period expired October 30, 2008.
US EPA is under pressure to weaken proposed regulations to protect farm workers and rural communities from fumigant exposure.
Take Action now! Tell EPA we want the highest safety precautions for fumigant pesticide use and a timeline to phase out fumigants. Don’t let the agrochemical industry undermine the new regulations!
In July 2008, after three years of deliberation, EPA proposed new rules for five highly toxic fumigant pesticides. While the proposed rules fall short of fully protecting people and the environment, they are a giant leap forward in reducing risks of exposure to these dangerous chemicals.
Fumigants are among the most toxic pesticides in use today, drifting into schools and homes in rural communities and threatening the health of farm workers. Exposure has been linked to birth defects, cancer, Parkinson’s disease and acute poisonings. Fumigants are used in large quantities to sterilize soils before planting -- an archaic tool of chemically-reliant industrial agriculture, the antithesis of soil-nurturing sustainable farming.
Sign PAN’s petition today – Please sign the petition by Tuesday, October 28 to demand that EPA stand firm on fumigant rules as an important step toward safer farming.
EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs Special Review and Reregistration Division has issued regulations to minimize risks of fumigant exposure to farmworkers and bystanders. While the measures proposed by EPA are a good first step, farmworkers and rural communities across the country had high hopes that EPA would move forward toward a phaseout of fumigant pesticides.
The risks posed by fumigant pesticides to rural and suburban communities require special attention to protect public health. Among the important steps proposed by EPA are the requirement for buffer zones between application sites and occupied areas, and the public posting of those buffer zones. We also support the improved protections required for all fumigant handlers, and that users will be required to notify local officials of their intent to apply fumigants.
We remain concerned that the new fumigant rules don’t go far enough to protect public health. Buffer zones will not mitigate all bystander inhalation risks or eliminate incidents caused by equipment failure, human error, and weather or other events. Therefore, we also urge you to consider setting a concrete timeline for the phase-out of fumigant pesticides.
In the meantime, we urge you to strengthen the public health protections for fumigant pesticides and ensure that the existing proposed mitigations are not weakened during this final phase of the reregistration.