97% of endangered species threatened by two common pesticides
The Environmental Protection Agency EPA released an analysis of the effects two common pesticides have on endangered species. Shockingly, their findings show 97% of the species protected under the Endangered Species Act are likely to be harmed by malathion and chlorpyrifos. More so, 78% are likely to be hurt by diazinon.
According to the Environmental Conservation Online System ECOS, to date there are 2,328 species listed as threatened or endangered under the Act and 1,652 of those are in the United States.
These three pesticides are organophosphates, an old insecticide widely used in crops such as corn, watermelon, and wheat. More so, chlorpyrifos is in the process of being banned in the US and and malathion and diazinon have been classified as possible carcinogens by the World Health Organization.
“We’re now getting a much more complete picture of the risks that pesticides pose to wildlife at the brink of extinction, including birds, frogs, fish and plants,” said Nathan Donley, senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The next step will hopefully be some common sense measures to help protect them along with our water supplies and public health.”
“When it comes to pesticides, it’s always best to look before you leap, to understand the risks to people and wildlife before they’re put into use,” He added. “The EPA is providing a reasonable assessment of those risks, many of which can be avoided by reducing our reliance on the most toxic, dangerous old pesticides in areas with sensitive wildlife.”
Following the EPA report, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries will release their biological opinions to identify mitigation measures and changes to pesticide use to help ensure they stop harming endangered species.
These biological opinions will be completed and delivered on December 2017 as part of a legal settlement with the Center for Biological Diversity.