Pesticides…it’s a scary subject folks! And it’s one that comes up a lot these days thanks to modern industry. Pesticides and herbicides are among the more than 80,000 chemicals being used in America today, most of which have been shown to cause serious health problems in humans—even in small amounts. So when I heard recently that the Environmental Protection Agency is finally taking steps to ban one of the most harmful pesticides in use today, I couldn’t help but celebrate!
Last month the EPA moved to ban the use of endosulfan once and for all in the U.S., and I wasn’t the only one doing a happy dance. Health advocacy groups like the Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) have been trying to remove endosulfan from the market for years because of its widely documented health effects in humans.
Banned in more than 60 countries worldwide, endosulfan is used most commonly on vegetable crops and cotton and has been linked to birth defects and delayed sexual development in children, as well as an increased risk of developing autism. And even though it’s not considered a carcinogen (a cancer-causing toxin), research shows that endosulfan may also contribute to certain types of cancer, in particular breast cancer.
Right now the EPA is working with the sole U.S. manufacturer of endosulfan to establish a timeframe that would allow farmers to come up with effective alternatives to endosulfan use—bravo! My only hope is that other countries will follow suit, and pretty soon we can phase out the use of endosulfan for good.