18 January 1999 00:00 [Source: ICB Americas]Five organophosphate insecticides may pose risks above levels deemed safe by federal statutes, Environmental Protection Agency warns in preliminary assessments. EPA says the assessments, which could be revised, of oxydemethon-methyl, acephate, disulfoton, methamidophos and pirimiphos methyl, are available for review and public comment.
In a Federal Register notice, the agency also says it is "common and appropriate that new information and analyses will be used to revise and refine the evaluations contained in these dockets to make them more comprehensive and realistic." EPA cautions against "any use of information" out of context.
Organophosphates are a widely used class of insecticides that, in high doses, can harm the nervous system. Because these pesticides can leave residues on food, they are being reexamined under the updated safety standards of the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996.
According to EPA, oxydemethon-methyl is registered for use on vegetables, field crops, tree fruit and nuts.
The chemical has been under special review since 1987 because of concerns over reproductive effects and worker exposure.
The current registrant, Yuma, Ariz.-based Gowan Company, has agreed not to market the pesticide for nine uses, but EPA has maintained tolerances--maximum residue limits--for the uses.
That would allow the applications to be "potentially reinstated after EPA's favorable review" of additional data that Gowan has been asked to provide and the completion of dietary and worker risk assessments.
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