Other Reproductive Toxins In the News
The Pesticide Chlorpyrifos
This summer, the federal EPA announced that pesticide manufacturers have agreed
to stop retail sales of the insecticide CHLORPYRIFOS. This chemical is used in
numerous products, especially air and carpet sprays, as well as pet sprays, and
shampoos. Commercial use of the pesticide will still be allowed when applied by
CHLORPYRIFOS, sold under the name of Dursban, is used world wide to control
insects in homes. It has become one of the most widely used pesticides.
At the current time, this chemical is not on the California
list of chemicals that are known by the state to be a reproductive toxin. The
agreement between the EPA and the manufacturers was developed after reports that
the pesticide might be harmful to humans and animals.
The pact is designed to reduce the chemical’s exposure to children and pets
until the issue can be resolved. EPA has established a panel to design a study
of the reported potential chronic and neurological effects of the pesticide.
Funding For Lead Abatement
Since 1991, the state of California has been annually receiving about $12
million in FEES for the identification of lead contamination,
screening, and treatment of children for lead poisoning. Lead is strongly linked
to birth defects and brain damage in children and is officially listed as a
reproductive toxin by the state.
Lead is encountered most commonly in house paint which was applied to structures
built in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. In 1978, the use of lead was
banned from the manufacture of household paint.
However, the legislation that enabled the collection of these fees has been the
subject of major litigation efforts by paint and oil companies whose products
had been assessed fees through this legislatively majority-approved
measure. The arguments focused on whether it was a tax as defined in the
Proposition 13, the 1978 tax-cutting initiative which requires that state tax
measures receive a two-thirds legislative approval vote.
The California Supreme Court has ruled during June 1997 that this measure was
legally passed by the Legislature and therefore is defined as a fee on the
industries that created the lead burden on society.
The Pesticide Methyl Bromide
Several residents of the Castroville area have submitted an appeal to the state
Department of Pesticide Regulation requesting that a local farmer’s permit to
use methyl bromide and other pesticides be revoked.
These people live in homes located next to a strawberry farm and they claim that
during the last four applications of pesticides at the neighboring farm a
"gaseous-drift" has contaminated their homes.
Methyl Bromide is used to kill termites in structures, as well as strawberry,
tomato, and flower pests in the agriculture domain. The chemical is officially
listed as a known reproductive toxin by the state of California for
structural applications, but not for agricultural applications.
According to the California EPA, the known effects of repeated exposure include
damage to the brain, the peripheral nervous system, the respiratory system,
kidneys, liver, eyes, nose, throat, lungs and skin.
Methyl bromide is a direct-acting mutagen that is toxic to DNA. Methyl bromide
can also cause “treatment related, biologically significant” birth defects,
including absence of gall bladder, fused spine, and decreased fetal weight.
The United States annually uses approximately 40% of the total methyl bromide
produced worldwide. Mexico only consumes about 1% of the world production;
however, most of the methyl bromide used in Mexico is applied to stored grains.