FOR WEDNESDAY, 20 NOVEMBER 1996 Albert Donnay, Susan Brown or Connie Prigg
MCS Referral & Resources, 410-448-3319

Two New Studies Link Dursban, a Common Household Insecticide,

with Serious Life-Threatening Birth Defects

(similar to those seen in children of Gulf War Veterans)

and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (similar to Gulf War Syndrome)

Coalition Calls on EPA to Act Immediately to Protect Public Health

American Public Health Association Annual Meeting, November 20

Two independent researchers will present data at the 124th Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association linking birth defects and multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome (MCS) with exposure to the widely used insecticide chlorpyrifos (trade name Dursban). The reported birth defects are similar to those seen in the children of Gulf War veterans, and the many symptoms of MCS are virtually identical to those of Gulf War Syndrome. The researchers criticize the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency--which has had these same data since 1994--for failing to take action to protect the public from the risks posed by chlorpyrifos exposure. Chlorpyrifos is one of the top 5 insecticides in the U.S., with million of pounds applied annually both indoors and on crops. It is used by over 17% of all households and was one of 20 pesticides used by the U.S. military in the Gulf War (up to 8,410 pounds may have been used, second only to malathion).

In response to these findings, a coalition of environmental organizations--including the Environmental Working Group, National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides, New York Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides, Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides, Pesticide Action Network North America, and the Rachel Carson Council--will issue a statement calling on EPA to immediately restrict chlorpyrifos use. Only certified Pest Control Operators should apply chlorpyrifos, and its use should be banned altogether on pets and in day care centers, schools, and homes where children and pregnant women may be exposed. These groups also will call on EPA to release all the other health effects data on chlorpyrifos that the agency has collected and promptly complete the product's "reregistration review" that has been underway since 1991. DowElanco, the manufacturer of chlorpyrifos, should be required to add warnings about birth defects, MCS and the other symptoms of chlorpyrifos poisoning to its product labels. These warnings also should be provided in advance by pesticide applicators to all those who may be exposed. Currently, EPA requires DowElanco to warn consumers only about adverse effects of chlorpyrifos on household pets.

Two Presentations, each with a Q&A session, will be given on Wednesday, Nov 20:

(1) Birth Defects in Gulf War and Civilian Children--Is There A Connection?

WHERE & WHEN: New York (City) Hilton & Towers, Mercury Ballroom, 2-3:30pm

by Janette Sherman, M.D., Internal Medicine, Alexandria VA

(2) Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Associated With Exposure to Chlorpyrifos

WHERE & WHEN: New York (City) Sheraton, Empire 2 Room, 4-5:30pm

by Albert Donnay, MHS, Exec. Director, MCS Referral & Resources, Baltimore, MD

(Media must pre-register with APHA at the New York Hilton & Towers, Room 513)



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