Issue Summaries


From the Foundation for Advancements in Science and Education:

"Pesticides that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has judged too dangerous for domestic use, pesticides which are unsafe unless used under strict supervision, and pesticides never evaluated by EPA are routinely shipped from US ports.

Many of these chemicals are bound for destinations in the developing world, where it has long been established that prevailing conditions-a lack of protective equipment, unsafe application and storage practices, inadequate training of pesticide applicators-increase their hazards."
(Source: Foundation for Advancements in Science and Education web page, Exporting Risk: the FASE Pesticides Project)

From the Food and Agriculture Organization:

"There are many cases where highly hazardous pesticides, which are not permitted for use in industrialized countries, are exported to developing countries.

For a pesticide to be banned, it has to be registered first. Some pesticide companies have not registered or re-registered products which they knew would have not have been authorized in their own country but continue to produce and export the same products to developing countries. There are also cases of pesticide manufacturers increasing exports of products that have been banned or restricted in their own countries, possibly in order to use up existing stocks or to compensate for depleted local markets.

Pesticide companies have also been able to circumvent bans on specific products by building formulation plants for the product in developing countries. They then supply the technical grade active ingredients needed to make the pesticide and claim that the product itself is locally manufactured.

The argument is put forward that developing countries are demanding these hazardous pesticides because less toxic products are often too expensive."

(Source: Food and Agriculture Organization web page, Prevention and Disposal of Obsolete Pesticides)

27 Million Pounds (12.3 Million Kilograms) of U.S.-banned Pesticides Exported between 2001 and 2003


"According to U.S. Customs records, between 2001-2003, the U.S. exported nearly 1.7 billion pounds of pesticide products - 32 tons per hour. A study by Carl Smith of the Foundation for Advancement in Science and Education, published in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health, notes that these exports included "27 million pounds of pesticides whose use is forbidden in the U.S.," including "500,000 pounds of known or suspected carcinogens." Endocrine disrupting pesticides were sent overseas at the rate of 100 tons a day. Most of the exports - including shipments of deadly persistent organic pollutants (POPs) - were destined for developing countries."

(Source: Pesticide Action Network Weekly News: Pesticide Exports from U.S. Ports, 1997-2000)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Policy on Export of Unregistered Pesticides


"Pesticides that are not approved - or registered - for use in the U.S. may be manufactured in the U.S. and exported. FIFRA Section 17(a) requires that exporters of unregistered pesticides first obtain a statement signed by the foreign purchaser indicating the purchaser's awareness of that product in the U.S. The requirement is shipment-specific for a particular exporter, product and purchaser.

To ensure that national officials responsible for the protection of health and the environment are informed of this shipment, EPA transmits a copy of the statement to the Designated National Authority (DNA) (so designated as part of the United Nations program on Prior Informed Consent) in the receiving country. EPA is placing the highest priority on timely notification for two categories of exported pesticides which EPA believes may be of greatest concern to countries:

  1. pesticides on the international list of Prior Informed Consent (PIC), most of which have also been banned or severely restricted in the U.S., and
  2. other pesticides banned and severely restricted in the U.S. for health or environmental reasons, which are not on the PIC list.
    It is EPA's intention to make the U.S. export notification program compatible with the international one, while meeting domestic legislative requirements. Revisions to the U.S. export notification program will be considered in the context of implementation of the PIC Agreement."

(Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Import and Export Trade Requirements)


Counterpoint: Production of Hazardous Pesticides in Developing Nations


"Illegal use of banned pesticides have been reported from many parts of the world. Pesticides such as DDT, banned for agricultural uses around the world, are sold through the black market or even openly in small, unregulated shops.

Many such pesticides are either obtained from old stockpiles or from illegal production. In India, for example, DDT is still commonly used for vegetable and fruit production. A recent study found that up to 50% of produce commonly available in shops was tainted with DDT and other banned pesticides."

(Source: Pesticide Action Network North America, [Pesticide Production and Dumping|http://www.panna.org/issues/frontline-communities/production-dumping)

"North-south dilemma over pesticide economics

As noted above, the general progression of pesticide development has moved from highly toxic, persistent and bioaccumulating pesticides such as DDT, to pesticides that degrade rapidly in the environment and are less toxic to non-target organisms. The developed countries have banned many of the older pesticides due to potential toxic effects to man and/or their impacts on ecosystems, in favour of more modern pesticide formulations. In the developing countries, some of the older pesticides remain the cheapest to produce and, for some purposes, remain highly effective as, for example, the use of DDT for malaria control. Developing countries maintain that they cannot afford, for reasons of cost and/or efficacy, to ban certain older pesticides. The dilemma of cost/efficacy versus ecological impacts, including long range impacts via atmospheric transport, and access to modern pesticide formulations at low cost remains a contentious global issue."

(Source: FAO report, Control of Water Pollution from Agriculture)

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