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Endosulfan: A Pesticide with Too Many Risks

Case Overview

Endosulfan is a dangerous organochlorine insecticide that poison children, farmworkers, bystanders, fish, birds, and wildlife. Many organochlorine pesticides, including DDT, were banned in the 1970s. Used in the United States on tomatoes, cotton, and other crops, endosulfan can cause reproductive and developmental damage in both humans and wildlife; recently, a study found that children exposed to endosulfan in the first trimester had a significantly greater risk for developing autism spectrum disorder. In addition, endosulfan is extremely persistent, mobile, bioaccumulative, and has been found in National Parks, the Arctic, and in marine mammals. Endosulfan is banned entirely in the European Union and many other countries, including Cambodia, Pakistan, and the Philippines.  Endosulfan has been proposed for a global ban under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.  In early 2008, more than 13,000 people signed a petition asking EPA to ban endosulfan in the United States. 


EPA approved continued use of endosulfan despite its horrific risks and minor benefits, in violation of federal pesticide law. EPA also failed to initiate or complete consultation on the impacts of endosulfan to threatened and endangered species. 


Earthjustice has filed suit to force EPA to consider the impacts this pesticide has on people and wildilfe, and to prevent its application around schools, homes, playgrounds, and other areas while EPA complies with the law.

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