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SCIENTISTS CALL FOR BAN ON DURSBAN

WASHINGTON, DC, April 13, 2000 (ENS)

Twelve prominent scientists, including two former EPA officials, have sent a letter to EPA Administrator Carol Browner urging tighter restrictions on the pesticide chlorpyrifos, sold as Dursban. The EPA is expected to issue its final risk assessment for chlorpyrifos, the nation's most widely used pesticide, in the next few weeks. "For the protection of current and future generations of children in the United States, we urge that you take deliberate action in this last year of the Clinton-Gore administration to tightly restrict the agricultural use of chlorpyrifos and to ban outright all applications of chlorpyrifos in the residential setting, schools and childcare facilities," the scientists wrote.

The EPA's own preliminary assessment of chlorpyrifos, released late last year, found evidence that the chemical can affect the nervous system in humans. The pesticide is found in more than 800 products, including pet collars, pest control products, and lawn and garden insecticides. Recent studies indicate that exposure may cause severe and lasting nerve damage in infants and children. The authors of the letter hail from major universities and medical schools. The lead authors on the letter are both former EPA officials. Dr. Phil Landrigan, director of the Center for Children's Health and the Environment at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, served as senior advisor on children's health for the EPA in 1997 and 1998. Dr. Lynn Goldman, adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University, School of Hygiene and Public Health, served as assistant administrator for the EPA's Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances from 1993 to January 1999.

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