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EPA plans daminozide ban.

EPA plans daminozide ban

Interim data from a new study show that a metabolite of daminozide -- a plant-growth regulator used primarily on apples -- causes blood-vessel tumors in mice, according to Jack Moore, acting deputy administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. This metabolite, known as UDMH, forms during cooking or digestion of treated fruit. Moreover, new survey data have tripled -- to 15 percent -- EPA's estimate of the number of U.S. apples treated with daminozide (under the trade name Alar) last year. Calling the new data "a cause for concern," EPA officials announced this week they are resuming an orderly cancellation of the chemical's uses on food crops -- a process they say may take 18 months.

On the basis of the new data, EPA now estimates the human lifetime risk of cancer from UDMH -- primarily from eating daminozide-treated apples -- to be up to five persons per 100,000 exposed. Childhood exposures (SN: 3/4/89, p. 133) will account for much if not all of this risk, EPA says. Moore says an emergency ban is not needed because short-term risks of eating foods contaminated with daminozide are insignificant and pose no imminent cancer threat.

This week, the association representing U.S. apple growers announced it's asking members to phase out daminozide by fall.
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Title Annotation:Environmental Protection Agency
Publication:Science News
Date:May 20, 1989
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