Reprinted from Kansas Pesticide Newsletter , Kansas State University. January 12, 2001, Volume 24, No. 1.
In a December 5, 2000 news release, EPA announced an agreement to phase-out diazinon, one of the most widely used insecticides in the United States, for indoor uses, beginning in March 2001, and for all lawn, garden and turf uses by December 2003.
Carol M. Browner, EPA Administrator said, "The action we are taking today is another major step toward ensuring that all Americans can enjoy greater safety from exposure to harmful pesticides. Today's action will significantly eliminate the vast majority of organophosphate insecticide products in and around the home, and by implementing this phase-out, it will help encourage consumers to move to safer pest control practice," said Browner.
Diazinon is the most widely used insecticide by homeowners on lawns, and is one of the most widely used insecticide ingredients for application around the home and in gardens. The agreement reached today with the manufacturers, Syngenta and Makhteshim Agan, will eliminate 75 percent of the use which amounts to more than 11 million pounds of the insecticide used annually.
EPA is taking this action under the Food Quality Protection Act, signed into law in 1996. Since then, EPA has targeted a large group of older, riskier pesticides called organophosphates for review because they pose the greatest potential risk. In August of 1999, for example, EPA announced action against methyl parathion and azinphos methyl. The Agency reached an agreement to halt by December 2000 the manufacture of chlorpyrifos (Dursban) for nearly all residential uses. Diazinon - used in homes, and on lawns and gardens - is the latest organophosphate to be phased out. Specifically, the terms of the agreement implement the following phase-out schedules:
- For the indoor household use, the registration will be canceled on March 2001, and all retail sales will stop by December 2002.
- For all lawn, garden and turf uses, manufacturing stops in June 2003; all sales and distribution to retailers ends in August 2003. Further, the company will implement a product recovery program in 2004 to complete the phase out of the product.
- Additionally, as part of the phase out, for all lawn, garden, and turf uses, the agreement ratchets down the manufacturing amounts. Specifically, for 2002, there will be a 25 percent decrease in production; and for 2003, there will be a 50 percent decrease in production.
- Also, the agreement begins the process to cancel around 20 different uses on food crops.
Organophosphates affect the nervous system. The effects from diazinon (and other organophosphates) vary depending on the dose, but symptoms from over-exposure can include nausea, headaches, vomiting, diarrhea, and general weakness. Today's action also represents an important step for the environment.
It is legal to purchase and use diazinon products according to label directions and precautions. Consumers should take special care to always read and follow the label directions and precautions. If consumers choose to discontinue use, they should contact their state or local hazardous waste disposal program or the local solid waste collection service for information on proper disposal. (From: EPA Press Release, 12/5/2000)
This article originally appeared in the February 9, 2001 issue, pp. 10-11.