Ban Pesticide Used In 800 Products

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Some household bug killers have prompted a warning and a ban because of a dangerous chemical component, reports CBS News Health correspondent Dr. Emily Senay.

The Environmental Protection Agency has banned the pesticide chlorpyrifos -- which is also sometimes called Dursban -- from use in common household products. You'll find these names on the labels of many familiar brands of insecticides for the home and garden.

Chlorpyrifos has been around for more than 30 years but the EPA says repeated exposure to this pesticide and others like it is a health hazard, especially for children.

The main concern is long-term exposure. We also know that even short-term exposure can cause problems. Symptoms associated with chlorpyrifos include nausea, dizziness and breathing difficulties. People who have been exposed to large quantities of this have even died.

The EPA now says we need to keep chlorpyrifos away from kids.

Over 800 products found in the supermarket contain this chemical, including bug sprays for the house, flea collars for animals, and products that kill bugs in the lawn.

"The latest studies have suggested that neurological problems are the real risk here," says Dr. Senay.

However, the products won't be recalled. "This is a phase out," said Dr. Senay.

"You will still be able to buy these products until 2001. These things are still going to be around. Many stores, however, may choose to take them off the shelves now."

The chemicals will still be used agriculturally.

"Farmers will still use it on all sorts of products, crops…but they're going reduce its use in things that are most popular with kids, like grapes and apples," explains Dr. Senay.

The EPA is going to try to get rid of chlorpyrifos from schools, playgrounds and anywhere kids might be.

Dr. Senay advises parents not to throw products with these chemicals down the drain or in the garbage. Instead, "Contact your state and local hazardous waste disposal program or local solid waste collection service for advice about what to do with them."

  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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