Pesticide drift data spotlights serious gap in EPA rules
EPA missed the boat on chlorothalonil. This nearly-impossible-to-pronounce pesticide, widely used in conventional potato fields throughout the country, is in the air people in neighboring communities breathe every summer. And chlorothalonil is known to be particularly toxic when inhaled.
Yet EPA’s safety standards — so far — are primarily based on how much of the pesticide people eat, not what they breathe. It doesn’t make sense.
Match rules to reality, please» EPA is rethinking its rules on chlorothalonil — and that’s a very good thing. Please join us in urging the agency to set safety standards based on documented, on-the-ground exposures.
The reality/rules gap was in the spotlight last week, as communities in central Minnesota used grassroots science to measure the invisible problem of pesticide drift. When they used PAN’s Drift Catcher to monitor the air in potato-growing regions of the state, chlorothalonil showed up more than 60% of the time.
When chlorothalonil is ingested (as residue on foods, for example), it is considered “slightly toxic to non-toxic.” But it’s considered “highly toxic or acutely toxic” when inhaled.
“EPA has a responsibility to stand up for the health and well-being of families like ours,” says Norma Smith, a member of Minnesotans for Pesticide Awareness and participant in the community Drift Catcher project.
Reality-based safety rules» EPA’s pesticide rules should reflect real-world uses, exposures and potential alternatives, not models that balance theoretical risks against pesticide industry profits. Tell EPA to get it right on chlorothalonil.
Thank you so much for standing with rural communities.