The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued emergency orders barring the sale or use of the
widely used pesticide, dinoseb, because the chemical causes "a very serious risk" of birth defects. Between
7 million to 11 million pounds of dinoseb is sprayed each year as a weed killer on soybeans, cotton,
potatoes, peanuts, alfalfa, snap beans, peas, grapes, almonds and other crops. The agency found that there
is a threat of birth defects to pregnant field workers exposed to the chemical and that dinoseb can cause
sterility in exposed men. An estimated 45,000 workers, including 3,000 women are exposed to dinoseb.
Uniroyal Chemical Company, one of the producers of dinoseb, said the company felt it was safe when used
as directed on the label, but that they were aware of, but had not yet seen, the new EPA studies on health
effects. A spokesman for Uniroyal said his company planned to ask the EPA for a hearing on its decision
and hoped it could keep dinoseb on the market after changing the label. Dinoseb was one of hundreds of
pesticides permitted on the market on the basis of safety tests conducted by Industrial Bio-Test Laboratory,
a concern later found to have submitted many flawed or fraudulent reports on its procedures and
--Peter Montague, Ph.D.
Descriptor terms: bans; nrc; pesticides; birth defects; dinoseb; industrial biotest laboratory; uniroyal chemical company; testing; fraud; food safety; agriculture;