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What's Lurking In Your Household Products?

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency banned the pesticide Chlorpyrifos, sometimes under the name Dursban, from use in common household products, mainly insecticides for the home and garden. On Tuesday's Early Show HealthWatch Contributor Dr. Emily Senay explains what a ban on this common pesticide means to you and your family.

Facts About The Ban

  • About 800 products have this chemical, everything from flea and tick collars, roach and ant sprays and pest control products we spread on our lawns. It's also used by professional exterminators to treat termite infestation, but it's most common use is as a pesticide on fruit, vegetable and grain crops.

  • The products are not being recalled, the plan is to stop including the pesticide in products used in the home, although stores will still be allowed to sell existing stock until the end of next year. Bait products are not included in the ban.

  • The amount used on kids' favorites, like apples and grapes, will be reduced, and in the case of tomatoes, eliminated entirely. It will still be around in the environment, as it will continue to be used in agriculture on about 40 crops.

  • The main concern is that long-term exposure of this chemical to children as they grow up can cause neurological developmental problems, but even brief exposure can cause reactions like nausea, dizziness and disorientation to more serious difficulties in breathing.

  • Some kids have had reactions after playing on grass that has been treated with Dursban. Others show the affects after their schools have been treated with the pesticide. In fact, long before this E.P.A. ban, many school districts stopped using these products for pest control.

  • Some experts say the ban doesn't go far enough and that products should be taken out of the home and off store shelves immediately. Some stores have already begun removing the products voluntarily.

  • If you have these products at home, don't throw them down the drain! Contact your state or local hazardous waste disposal program or local solid waste collection service for advice about what to do with them.

For more info about the ban contact:
Environmental Protection Agency
National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides

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