Dursban, also known as chlorpyrifos, is an extremely toxic pesticide that was once widely used in the U.S.
This highly toxic chemical was used in pesticide sprays for residential and institutional use, including the sprays used by exterminators as well as in residential settings for lawn care and termite treatment.
On June 8, 2000 the EPA announced an agreement with Dow ArgoSciences that allowed the company to continue making Dursban for residential uses until the end of the year and permitted retailers to continue selling Dursban.
Although the deal limited the use of Dursban and eventually banned it, the deal failed to recall the products already on store shelves.
Despite the EPA’s ruling that the pesticide was unsafe, for years people were still allowed to walk into a local hardware store and buy it. The agreement with a subsidiary of Dow Chemical Company was prompted by evidence that hundreds of children were poisoned each year by Dursban, which was used in more than 800 products ranging from flea collars to bug sprays.
Why Has It Been Banned?
Technically, Dursban is an organophosphate insecticide and member of a class of chemicals that can affect the nervous system.
However, in 2000 the EPA found Dursban to pose serious health risks to women and children through the pesticide residue present in their food. Gradually, Dursban was phased off the market because of its link to birth defects and neurological injuries.
In 1996, 1,109 people reported being ill due to exposure to Dursban and unfortunately one death occurred. Victims who were especially vulnerable to the pesticide now suffer from chronic problems ranging from learning and memory deficits to anxiety and fatigue.
Despite the agreement to withdraw Dursban, Dow insisted that the pesticide was safe and blasted the EPA study saying there were numerous errors and omissions of critical data.