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Chlordane deal ruled illegal.

Chlordane deal ruled illegal

Last August, the Environmental Protection Agency announced its signing of a voluntary agreement with Velsicol Chemical Corp. of Rosemont, Ill., to immediately cancel registration -- and therefore the right to legally sell or use -- chlordane and heptachlor, the most widely used termite killers (SN: 8/15/87, p.102). In a supplemental, Oct. 1 agreement with Velsicol (sole maker of those termiticides), EPA said it would allow the firm to sell off its existing stocks of such chemicals for legal use through April 15, 1988. Ordinarily, the pesticide-cancellation process is long and costly. EPA decided to trade off its permission to sell existing stocks of the carcinogenic chemicals in exchange for an agreement by Velsicol to voluntarily cancel its pesticides -- thereby reducing the time and cost of pulling those chemicals from the market.

However, last week a U.S. District Court judge ruled that the Oct. 1 agreement was "arbitrary, capricious and an abuse of [EPA's] discretion." In his ruling, Judge Louis F. Oberdorfer said that federal law permits the selling off of existing stocks of a banned pesticide only if doing so "will not have unreasonable adverse effects on the environment." Since EPA did not show that continued use of the termiticides would have no such adverse effects, Oberdorfer said the agency had no right to allow continued sales.

EPA, which has not decided whether to appeal, is concerned about the ruling's implications. Explains agency spokesman Al Heier, this "surprise" ruling would appear to eliminate a bargaining chip that has proved useful in encouraging the speedy ban of particularly toxic chemicals.
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Title Annotation:pesticide cancellation deal with Velsicol Chemical Corp.
Publication:Science News
Date:Mar 5, 1988
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