The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Bayer CropScience, the manufacturer, have reached an agreement to end use of the pesticide aldicarb in the United States. A new risk assessment conducted by EPA based on recently submitted toxicity data indicates that aldicarb, an N-methyl carbamate insecticide, no longer meets the agency’s rigorous food safety standards and may pose unacceptable dietary risks, especially to infants and young children.
To address the most significant risks, Bayer has agreed first to end aldicarb use on citrus and potatoes and will adopt risk mitigation measures for other uses to protect groundwater resources. New measures to protect shallow drinking water wells in vulnerable areas of the southeastern U.S. coastal plain and lower application rates will be immediately added to product labels for use on cotton, soybeans, and peanuts.
The company will voluntarily phase out production of aldicarb by December 31, 2014. All remaining aldicarb uses will end no later than August 2018. Additionally, EPA plans to revoke the tolerances (legal pesticide residues allowed in food) associated with these commodities. EPA did this to ensure we have the safest food supply possible.
Based upon current toxicological studies, aldicarb at levels higher than those typically found in food has the potential to cause various effects such as sweating, nausea, dizziness and blurred vision, abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Aldicarb is registered for use as a systemic insecticide and nematicide on agricultural crops, and is formulated and marketed solely as a granular pesticide under the trade name Temik. During the phase-out, the pesticide will continue to be registered for use on cotton, dry beans, peanuts, soybeans, sugar beets, and sweet potatoes. Aldicarb products are not intended for sale to homeowners or for use in residential settings. A restricted use pesticide, aldicarb may be applied only by trained, certified pesticide applicators.
The memorandum of agreement and the agency’s updated dietary risk assessment and supporting materials will be available in the aldicarb reregistration docket, EPA-HQ-OPP-2005-0163, and in the aldicarb Special Review docket, EPA-HQ-OPP-2006-0197, at regulations.gov.
The U.S. has a safe and abundant food supply, and children and others should continue to eat a variety of foods, as recommended by the federal government and nutritional experts.