Insecticide to be banned – three decades after 2,000 people fell ill from eating tainted melons

Posted by Trish Riley, August 18, 2010

Twenty-five years after the worst known outbreak of pesticide poisoning in U.S. history, an agreement is announced that phases out all uses of aldicarb. Manufacturer Bayer CropScience agreed to stop producing the highly toxic insecticide, used to kill pests on cotton and several food crops, by 2015 in all world markets. Use on citrus and potatoes will be prohibited after next year. New EPA documents show that babies and children under 5 can ingest levels of the insecticide through food and drinking water that exceed limits that the agency considers safe. “Aldicarb no longer meets our rigorous food safety standards and may pose unacceptable dietary risks, especially to infants and young children,” the EPA said. At least 2,000 people fell ill from eating California watermelons illegally contaminated with aldicarb on the Fourth of July in 1985. “It is good the revocation is happening; it is a shame it took 20 years,” said Dick Jackson, chair of environmental health sciences at UCLA, who was a top state health official during the outbreak.

Read more by Marla Cone: Insecticide to be banned – three decades after 2,000 people fell ill from eating tainted melons — Environmental Health News.

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