America has a pesticide problem. There are no two ways about it. Although the acreage of farmland across the country is waning, pesticide use is as prevalent as ever in agriculture, in urban settings, in public parks, and on school grounds. Bees are dying off, people are getting sick, and there is no end in sight. Now, a new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) study warns that two widely used pesticides—malathion and chlorpyrifos—are likely to cause harm to 97 percent of endangered animals and plants in the United States.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) evaluated the nationwide effects of three commonly used pesticides. Malathion is often used to treat fruit, vegetables and plants for pests, and for tick removal on pets. Chlorpyrifos is used to exterminate termites, mosquitoes and roundworms, and poses a particular threat to native plant life. A third pesticide, diazinon, was found to pose a distinct threat to 79 percent of endangered species. That chemical is frequently used to kill cockroaches and ants.
This EPA study is the first of its kind to evaluate the impact of widespread pesticide use on America’s wildlife and flora, with a particular focus on the 1,782 species of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and plants listed under the Endangered Species Act. The findings were published this week for public comment for 60 days, after which the EPA will finalize its assessment and, working with FWS and NMFS, will develop recommendations for usage restrictions on the pesticides in question. There’s no indication at this point how aggressive those restrictions might be, or when a final assessment of their danger will be complete.
Via The Guardian
Images via USFWS