Toxic Hangover

The EPA Keeps Approving New Products With Dangerous Pesticides It Claims to Be Committed to Phasing Out

The United States is drenched in pesticides. Thanks to the Environmental Protection Agency’s lax regulatory approach, about 1 billion pounds of pesticides are used in the country every year. Humans and wildlife face the continued threat of the EPA’s empty promises and contradictory actions, which result in flagrant overuse of the most dangerous pesticides in existence — many of which have been banned in other countries. Take action now to help us stop this.

A new Center for Biological Diversity investigation has found that the EPA is actively working against its own public efforts to replace dangerous, old pesticides by approving new ones containing those same dangerous ingredients.     

Key finding: In 2017 and 2018, the EPA approved more than 100 pesticide products containing ingredients widely considered to be the most dangerous still in use, including some that have been banned in multiple countries or targeted for phaseout in the United States.

Pesticide products approved by the EPA in 2017 and 2018 include …

  • 15 new products containing neurotoxic carbamates or organophosphates (OPs), including chlorpyrifos.
  • 17 new products containing the endocrine disruptor atrazine.
  • 6 new products containing paraquat, which is so lethal that one spoonful can kill a full-grown adult.
  • 4 new products containing the extremely dangerous airborne fumigants methyl bromide or chloropicrin.
  • 91 new restricted-use pesticides, so dangerous they can only be applied by a professional.
  • 69 new products containing an ingredient the EPA recognizes as a “known” or “likely” carcinogen.

The Center’s study highlights a brazenly ineffective pesticide regulatory process by which the EPA’s non-publicized actions constantly contradict its public efforts to look like it’s making pesticides safer.

The disconnect between what the EPA does and what it says it does — coupled with the agency’s permissive product-approval process — has ended up promoting the use of the worst pesticides in the United States.


Banner photo: monarch butterfly on milkweed, adapted from report cover