Chlorpyrifos – Its Use Today
In 2000, the EPA banned the use of Chlorpyrifos for use in homes and home gardens. This was after many reports surfaced linking the over use of the chemical with health concerns in the areas where it was being extensively used. Unfortunately the clamping down on the company that produces this chemical – Dow Chemical Company – was done in stages and the company has gotten away with not just implementing it very slowly but also not implementing it in certain areas like using it to control and prevent termites in the foundations of buildings. While the newspapers reported that Chlorpyrifos was banned by the ETA, the fact remains that all the agency did was to constrain Dow to supplying the chemical for agricultural and commercial uses while it withdrew from the home use scene slowly. So while homeowners cannot buy it directly, they can most certainly purchase it through the agriculture trade. All that has changed is a warning that states ‘Restricted Use’.
It is inaction like this that allows the company to blatantly continue selling its product in spite of all tests advising the contrary. From around a maximum usage in 1997 of 13 million pounds, the usage has decreased to 10 million in 2001 after the reports so that wasn’t much of a decrease at all for a life-threatening chemical. It still means that so many homes around the world will be poisoned by the chemical in some way or the other.
With so many household products like flea collars, cockroach and ant sprays as well as foods on which the chemical has been sprayed because it is used extensively in agriculture, Chlorpyrifos is something that it looks like we really can’t escape from. Yes, some thing has been done and the products have been put out of reach of the regular home consumer – but the question is: Is this enough? Or should the ban be total? If it is, what is the option for pest control – and will it have the same ensuing problems?