Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Please Support Common Dreams This #GivingTuesday

Our coverage of the climate emergency, Covid-19, and rising authoritarianism have intensified over the last two years. But our expenses during the pandemic have gone up as well. This has been one of the toughest years we’ve ever faced. Though our content is free to all, less than 1% of our readers ever make a donation. We're counting on you. Please support independent media today.

Please Help This #GivingTuesday -- Though our content is free to all, less than 1% of our readers give. We’re counting on you. Please help Common Dreams end the year strong.

For Immediate Release

Contact

Press Release

EPA: Two Most Widely Used Pesticides Likely Harm Majority of Endangered Species

WASHINGTON -

The Environmental Protection Agency has determined that the endocrine-disrupting pesticide atrazine and cancer-linked pesticide glyphosate are each likely to harm more than 1,000 of the nation’s most endangered plants and animals.

The finalized evaluations found that use of the herbicide glyphosate is likely causing harm to 1,676 of the plants and animals protected under the Endangered Species Act. Atrazine is likely harming 1,013 protected species.

“It’s no surprise that these chemical poisons are causing severe harm to imperiled wildlife since U.S. use exceeds 70 million pounds of atrazine and 300 million pounds of glyphosate every year,” said Nathan Donley, environmental health science director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “It’s long past time for atrazine to be banned, and the EPA needs to crack down on the reckless overuse of glyphosate. Without real conservation action, these pesticides will continue to push our most endangered wildlife closer to extinction.”

Earlier this year the makers of atrazine agreed to changes that would end all use of the pesticide in Hawaii, allowing the EPA to determine that more than 500 species on the islands will no longer be harmed. But for endangered species found outside the proposed ban areas, the finding of harm was nearly 100%.

Today’s findings come after both glyphosate and atrazine were reapproved for widespread use across the country in the past two years. The EPA’s evaluations now go to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service in the final step of the consultation process to determine what on-the-ground conservation measures are needed to minimize harm to these species and ensure these pesticides do not push any endangered species towards extinction.

The risk of ongoing widespread harm from atrazine was found despite use restrictions announced by the EPA last year that effectively banned the pesticide in Hawaii, on forests, on Christmas tree farms and along roadsides.

Hundreds of millions of pounds of glyphosate are used each year in the United States, mostly in agriculture but also on lawns, gardens, landscaping, roadsides, schoolyards, national forests, rangelands, power lines and more. According to the EPA, glyphosate is sprayed on 298 million acres of crop land each year, while similarly large amounts are used in homes, schools and other non-agricultural areas.

Atrazine is a widespread pollutant of groundwater and drinking water. It has been linked to increased risk of cancer and reproductive problems in people and can chemically castrate male frogs at extremely low concentrations, including those allowed in drinking water. Despite being banned in more than 35 countries, including the entire European Union, it remains the second-most used herbicide in the United States after glyphosate.

The EPA has for decades refused to comply with its obligation under the Endangered Species Act to assess the harms of pesticides to protected plants and animals. But it was finally forced to do this evaluation under the terms of a 2016 legal agreement with the Center and Pesticide Action Network.

###

At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature — to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters and climate that species need to survive. 

New Research Finds Climate Emergency the 'Overwhelming Factor' Behind Australian Bushfires

"It is now clear that human-induced climate change is creating ever more dangerous conditions for fires in Australia."

Andrea Germanos ·


Iran Says US Must Lift 'Tyrannical and Illegal' Sanctions to Return to Nuclear Deal

"The Islamic Republic of Iran has entered the talks with a strong will and elaborate preparations in order to ensure the removal of unlawful and cruel sanctions."

Jake Johnson ·


2.5 Million Nurses Demand UN Probe Into 'Covid-19 Criminals' Blocking Patent Waiver

The European Union, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Norway, and Singapore "must be investigated for blocking a faster global vaccine rollout leading to the loss of countless lives."

Jake Johnson ·


WHO, South Africa Urge Nations to Lift 'Naive' Omicron Travel Bans

"The only thing the prohibition on travel will do is to further damage the economies of the affected countries and undermine their ability to respond to, and recover from, the pandemic."

Brett Wilkins ·


EU Joins Rights Group in Condemning Israel's 'Day of Destruction' of Palestinian Homes

"Demolitions are illegal under international law and significantly undermine the prospects for peace."

Brett Wilkins ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo