The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has decided to move on a decision the agency made in 2002 to end all uses of the insecticide endosulfan in the United States. Endosulfan, which is used on vegetables, fruits, and cotton, can pose unacceptable neurological and reproductive risks to farmworkers and wildlife and can persist in the environment. New data show that risks faced by workers are greater than previously known.
EPA also finds that there are risks above the agency's level of concern to aquatic and terrestrial wildlife, as well as to birds and mammals that consume aquatic prey which have ingested endosulfan. Farmworkers can be exposed to endosulfan through inhalation and contact with the skin. Endosulfan is used on a very small percentage of the U.S. food supply and does not present a risk to human health from dietary exposure.
Makhteshim Agan of North America, the manufacturer of endosulfan, is in discussions with EPA to voluntarily terminate all endosulfan uses.