March 31, 2001
Retailers asked to Remove Toxic Pesticide from Shelves
New York Attorney General
Says "Why Wait."
Albany, NY (SafetyAlerts) - A coalition of state
Attorney Generals today called on major national retailers to immediately pull the highly
toxic and widely-used pesticide Diazinon from their shelves, rather than slowly phasing
out the product as called for by the federal Environmental Protection Agency.
"We agree with the EPAs assessment that
this highly toxic pesticide poses serious health and environmental risks," said New
York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. "However, we disagree that we should wait a full
two and a half years before it is taken off the market. We are calling on major retailers
to act in the public interest by taking Diazinon off their shelves immediately and
offering their customers effective but less harmful alternatives. "
Americans use 13 million pounds of Diazinon per
year, 80 percent of which is applied by homeowners on turf, lawns and gardens to control
insects and grub worms. EPA has found that Diazinon poses health risks to people who apply
the pesticide as well as those who are exposed to it. It affects the brain and nervous
system and exposure in humans can cause nausea, headaches, vomiting and diarrhea. The EPA
assessment found that children are particularly at risk due to potential exposure by
inhalation of vapors and by skin contact in and around their homes.
Diazinon also seriously damages the environment
and wildlife. EPA research has revealed Diazinon to be responsible for the greatest number
of bird kills especially waterfowl, songbirds and raptors attributable to
pesticides during the years 1994-1998. A single granule of Diazinon is enough to kill a
bird. Diazinon is also highly toxic to freshwater fish, snails, algae, earthworms and
Because of the serious health and ecological
damage caused by this pesticide, the federal Environmental Protection Agency announced on
December 5, 2000 that Diazinon will be taken off the market by August 2003. The
manufacturing of the product for indoor use is scheduled to end this month, but suppliers
and retailers will be allowed to sell down their stock.
Spitzer heads a coalition of Attorneys General
from Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, Alaska, Rhode Island and Guam advocating for
the immediate removal of Diazinon from store shelves.
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal
said: "This highly toxic hazard should be off store shelves immediately not at
the snails pace planned by the federal government phase-out. Diazinon is a poison,
pure and simple. Applied to kill garden pests, it risks wrenching sickness, brain damage,
even death particularly to children who simply inhale or touch it. If retailers care about
their customers, now is the time to say no."
Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly said:
"As Attorney General I am committed to protecting Massachusetts children and their
health, and minimizing the risks from exposure to proven dangerous chemicals such as
Diazinon as an important part of that effort. Today, I am calling on Massachusetts
retailers to step up and voluntarily remove these toxic chemicals from their shelves, and
to instead encourage consumers to use less risky alternatives."
Diazinon is manufactured and marketed by Sygenta
of Greensboro, NC and Makhteshim Agan, of New York City. Diazinon has been on the market
since the mid-1970s and is sold under hundreds of product names, including: Ortho Diazinon
Granules, Creep Out, Agway Diazinon Insect Spray, Bug-B-Gon Ready Spray, and Turf Builder
Plus Insect Control.
from the Attorney General requesting that Diazinon be pulled from stores immediately
was sent today to the following major retailers: Ace Hardware; Agway, Inc.; Brewer
Environmental Inc.; Home Depot, Inc.; Kmart Corporation; Lowes Home Improvement
Center; Pergament Home Centers, Inc.; Sams Club; Target; TruServ Corporation (True
Value); Walgreens; Walmart; and WSTCO Quality Feed.
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