Two widely used pesticides likely to harm 97% of endangered species in US


The full article by Oliver Milman was originally written for The Guardian

Almost all of the 1,700 most endangered plants and animals in the US are likely to be harmed by two widely used pesticides, an alarming new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) analysis has found.

Malathion, an insecticide registered for use in the US since 1956, is likely to cause harm to 97% of the 1,782 mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and plants listed under the Endangered Species Act. Malathion is commonly used to treat fruit, vegetables and plants for pests, as well as on pets to remove ticks.

A separate pesticide, chlorpyrifos, is also a severe risk to 97% of America’s most threatened flora and fauna. Chlorpyrifos, which smells a little like rotten eggs, is regularly deployed to exterminate termites, mosquitoes and roundworms.

A third pesticide, diazinon, often used on cockroaches and ants, threatens 79% of endangered species. The EPA study is the first of its kind to look at whether common pesticides harm US wildlife.

The risk posed by malathion and chlorpyrifos is so widespread across the US that the few species considered not at risk are mainly those already classified as extinct, the EPA study found. In March last year, the World Health Organization said that malathion and diazinon are “probably carcinogenic to humans”.

Read more via The Guardian
Two widely used pesticides likely to harm 97% of endangered species in US