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U.S. Supreme Court Denies Petition to Reconsider Ban of Deadly Pesticide

In another example of how corporate bottom line trumps public health concern, the FMC Corporation- the leading manufacturer of carbofuran- and a group of powerful agribusiness lobbyists including the National Corn Growers Association, challenged, yet again, the ban on the pesticide, despite its reputation for being a deadly poison.

In 2006, the EPA announced that all uses of carbofuran should be cancelled because of occupational and ecological risks to humans and wildlife. In 2009, the agency revoked all food tolerances for the toxin. Today, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition to reconsider the EPA’s ban.

Carbofuran has one of the highest acute toxicities to humans of any insecticide widely used on field crops (only aldicarb and parathion are more toxic). A quarter teaspoon (1 mL) can be fatal. Most carbofuran is applied by commercial applicators using closed systems with engineered controls so there is no exposure to it in preparation. Since its toxic effects are due to its activity as a cholinesterase inhibitor it is considered a neurotoxic pesticide.

Carbofuran is banned in Canada and the European Union.

The following is a statement from Jason Rylander, senior attorney for Defenders of Wildlife:

“The Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the case allows EPA’s decision to stand. The EPA decision confirmed what we’ve been saying for years: carbofuran is a deadly poison that has absolutely no place in our food or the environment. The Court’s action means that, in this case, the health and safety of the American people and our nation’s wildlife have trumped the profits of powerful corporations.

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