Dirty Dozen pesticides: banned but still traded

Issue 

Dirty Dozen pesticides: banned but still traded

A review of recent US exports of the Pesticide Action Network's "Dirty Dozen" pesticides indicates that a national ban is not sufficient to prevent a pesticide from entering a country. According to US Customs records examined by the Foundation for Advancements in Science and Education (FASE), during the years 1995 and 1996 more than 1.5 million kilograms of Dirty Dozen pesticides were exported to countries which had banned them.

The review was the latest report from a project that FASE began in 1991 to document the trade in hazardous pesticides through analysis of US Customs shipping records. The Pesticide Action Network (PAN) International's list of Dirty Dozen pesticides includes 18 highly toxic chemicals including aldicarb, chlordane, EDB, heptachlor, parathion, pentachlorophenol and lindane.

Chlordane exports accounted for 1.13 million kilograms of total US Dirty Dozen exports. Overall, 95% (by volume) of chlordane shipments that appear in US Customs records for 1995 and 1996 were to countries that had regulations banning the chemical.

During 1995-1996, more than 102,060 kilograms of heptachlor were shipped to countries that had banned the chemical. Of the heptachlor shipments noted in Customs records, 65% (by volume) were to countries that had banned the chemical.

In its 1997 announcement that it would discontinue chlordane and heptachlor production before the end of the year, Velsicol Chemical Corporation stated that it had been exporting chlordane and heptachlor "for major road building projects in Africa, protection of residential structures in tropical regions such as northeastern Australia and the Far East, and as a soil insecticide to protect crops in South America". Such uses of these highly toxic chemicals were banned 10 to 20 years ago in the United States.

In reviewing exports over the last eight years, FASE project staff have noted that the majority of pesticide shipments are described in US Customs records in such generic or cryptic terms that the specific chemical cannot be identified. This lack of comprehensive and accurate data is a barrier to effective monitoring and enforcement of export regulations.

[From Pesticide Action Network Updates Service.]