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Groups File Suit Over Pesticide Use

July 29, 2008

By The Monterey County Herald, Calif.

Jul. 29–A number of farm labor, public health and environmental groups said Monday they filed a lawsuit challenging the Environmental Protection Agency over the continued use of the pesticide diazinon.

The groups said diazinon, which has been widely used on Monterey County crops, is one of the most toxic pesticides on the market.

Diazinon is used on broccoli, cherries, pears, spinach, tomatoes, apples and blueberries, the groups said. The EPA canceled home use of the pesticide in 2004 because of its risk to children, but has continued to allow farm uses.

The pesticide can become airborne after application, exposing farmworkers and nearby residents to the chemical that has been linked to a number of health risks.

The pesticide can contaminate water and pose a risk to bird and fish, the groups said.

State pesticide statistics show Monterey County was the top user of diazinon in 2005, and in 2006 about 385,000 pounds of the chemical were used statewide in treatments to about 217,000 acres.

Margaret Reeves, senior scientist for Pesticide Action Network, said “In the 21st century, we don’t need poisons like diazinon to grow our food.”

Other groups joining the suit were California Rural Legal Assistance, Earthjustice, Farmworker Justice and several farm labor groups, including the United Farm Workers Union and Teamsters Local 890.

The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.

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Copyright (c) 2008, The Monterey County Herald, Calif.

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