FMC challenges EPA carbofuran ban

The green blog has been covering the carbofuran issue ever since the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decided in 2008 to cancel the pesticide’s registration because of concern for its health safety.

Carbofuran is an N-methyl carbamate insecticide and nematicide that has been registered to control pests in soil and on leaves in a variety of field, fruit, and vegetable crops.

In October 30, the EPA finally decided to implement its final rule to ban the pesticide and said that farmers who use the product should switch to safer alternatives instead. The carbofuran ban will start after December 31, 2009.

“EPA has carefully evaluated the scientific issues and has provided more than 500 days of public comment on this decision. It is now important to move forward with the needed public health protections, especially for children.”

The EPA also denied any objections or requests for hearings regarding the ban, which of course FMC – the lone US producer of carbofuran, strongly objected to. During the 3-month commentary period on the ban, the National Corn Growers Association, National Sunflower Association, National Potato Council and FMC filed objections to the EPA proposal.

The EPA said the objections and science arguments presented were flawed and FMC’s proposed amendments to the carbofuran registration is said to be insufficient.

FMC and the three commodity crop associations plan to take legal action against the EPA’s decision in a federal court. FMC said the EPA’s attempt to link carbofuran food residues to symptoms of potential poisoning in children is unwarranted.

“EPA’s unprecedented attempt to deny any review of its science deprives the registrant and the growers who use carbofuran the right to prove that the product is safe, and represents a bold abuse of power in contradiction of the agency’s earlier commitments to transparency and good science,” said Dr. Michael Morelli, Director of Global Regulatory Affairs, FMC Agricultural Products Group.

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