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Inert pesticide ingredients toxic, too.

Inert pesticide ingredients toxic, too

When one thinks of toxic pesticides, one usually thinks of thechemicals actively involved in killing pests. But there is increasing evidence that some inert ingredients, which serve as solvents and diluents, can be equally deadly, possibly contributing to cancer, birth defects and brain damage. Pesticide manufacturers, protecting their trade secrets, generally do not reveal the identity of these inert ingredients on their products' labels. And until recently, the EPA, which regulates the use of the active chemicals, had done little to regulate the inert ingredients.

But last month, the agency announced new policies aimed atcontrolling the use of some of the inert ingredients. EPA has identified 50 compounds, including benzene, chloroform, formaldehyde and dioxane, which it believes are of "significant toxicological concern." It has also compiled a list of 50 additional chemicals it believes are potentially toxic. EPA officials say manufacturers that do not find safer substitutes for these 100 compounds will now be required to identify the inert compounds on their product labels and to provide EPA with health data to help determine the conditions under which the compounds can be safely used.
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Publication:Science News
Date:May 9, 1987
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