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carbofuran (Furadan) Carbofuran Phased Out Under Settlement Agreement 5/91

Tuesday, May 14, 1991


     The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it has
reached an agreement with FMC Corp. of Philadelphia to phase out the sale 
and use of the granular formulations of the pesticide carbofuran for all 
but five minor uses by Sept. 1, 1994.  In addition, the use of granular 
carbofuran will be banned in certain ecologically sensitive areas 
beginning.Sept. 1, 1991.  FMC Corp. is the only manufacturer and registrant 
of granular carbofuran .  Liquid carbofuran was not considered in the 
settlement agreement.

     Today's action follows a 1989 proposal by EPA to ban granular 
formulations of carbofuran (trade name Furadan) based on evidence that 
carbofuran granules are acutely toxic to birds.  A single granule may kill 
a small bird.  Carbofuran has killed many birds, including endangered 
species such as the bald eagle.

     EPA has received more than 80 separate reported bird-kill incidents 
attributed to carbofuran granular use in several crops throughout the 
country and has reviewed eight field studies in 10 states.  The Agency 
concluded that dietary exposure to birds occurred from direct ingestion of 
granules and ingestion of soil invertebrates such as earthworms 
contaminated with carbofuran.  Secondary poisoning of birds of prey 
ingesting small birds or mammals contaminated with carbofuran also 

     The complete human health data base generally does not show any human 
health concerns.  Carbofuran is widely used to control nematodes and 
insects on corn, sorghum, rice and other fields, vegetable and fruit crops.

     "This agreement will dramatically reduce risks to birds in a short 
period of time and will avoid a lengthy cancellation process," said EPA 
Administrator, William K. Reilly.  "It provides an orderly timetable for 
phasing out all but a handful of minor uses in a number of limited places."

     After Sept. 1, 1994, FMC's sales of granular carbofuran will be 
limited to no more than 2,500 pounds per year.  Use will be limited to five 
crops:  bananas in Hawaii, spinach grown for seed, pine tree progeny tests, 
cucurbits (cucumbers,squash, pumpkins, cantaloupe and watermelons) and dry-
harvested cranberries.

     Under terms of the agreement, the sale of granular carbofuran for use 
on corn and sorghum will be prohibited after Sept. 1, 1993, for use on rice 
after Sept. 1, 1994 and for use on bananas in Puerto Rico after Sept. 1, 
1994.  The use of carbofuran on bananas in Hawaii, dry-harvested 
cranberries, cucurbits, pine tree progeny tests and spinach grown for seed 
will be allowed to continue indefinitely.  All other uses of granular 
carbofuran will be voluntarily deleted from the label effective Sept. 1, 
1992.  During the phase-out period, FMC sales of granular carbofuran will 
be limited as follows:

     - between Sept. 1, 1991 and Aug. 31, 1992, no more than 4.5 million 
pounds of active ingredients may be sold;

     - between Sept. 1, 1992 and Aug. 31, 1993, no more may be sold than 
the difference between 4.5 million pounds and the amount sold during the 
period of Sept. 1, 1991 and Aug. 31, 1992;

     - between Sept. 1, 1993 and Aug. 31, 1994, no more may be sold than 
the difference between 4.5 million pounds and the total amount sold during 
the previous two years, but in any event, no more than 400,000 pounds.

     - beginning Sept. 1, 1994 FMC will be allowed to sell no more than 
2,500 pounds of granular carbofuran annually and use will be limited to 
bananas in Hawaii, dry-harvested cranberries, cucurbits, pine tree progeny 
tests and spinach grown for seed.

     In addition to the annual sales reduction of granular carbofuran, 
certain geographic restrictions to protect birds in ecologically sensitive 
areas, and a prohibition of the foliar application on corn go into effect 
Sept. 1, 1991.  The geographic restrictions for all granular carbofuran 
includes a prohibition against any use (except for the five remaining crops 
as noted above) in the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Maine, 
Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia.  
Granular carbofuran use will also be prohibited in the coastal counties of 
the states of North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina and Washington and 
from use on corn and sorghum in California.

     Remaining stocks of granular carbofuran in the hands of growers and 
distributors labeled for use on corn and sorghum may be sold and used for 
one year after the phase-out, until Aug. 31, 1994.  Similarly, granular 
carbofuran labeled for use on rice may only be sold and used until Aug. 31, 

     Granular carbofuran is generally applied when seeds are being planted 
at the beginning of the growing season to control pests that may or may not 
occur later in the season.  In 1988, EPA estimated that seven to 10 million 
pounds of carbofuran active ingredients were used,a bout 80 percent of 
which was the granular formulation.  Use of carbofuran on corn, the primary 
crop use, has declined by an estimated 33 percent since the late 1970's.

     During the course of the special review of carbofuran which began in 
1985, EPA reviewed and evaluated a number of options other than 
cancellation to reduce the risk to birds.  Among these measures were the 
following:  additional precautionary labeling regarding the hazard to 
birds, limiting carbofuran use to certain months of the year, limiting 
application geographically, and limiting application rates.  EPA found that 
none of these risk reduction measures were adequate tor educe the risk to 
birds, given the high toxicity of carbofuran granules.

     The agreement in principle between EPA and FMC Corp. has been signed.  
To effect this agreement, FMC is expected to amend their granular 
carbofuran registrations by June 1.  The agreement will effectively 
conclude the Agency's Special Review of granular carbofuran.