PANNA:Lindane Action Plan Must Include U.S. Ban
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The Latest on Lindane
Earlier this month, the governments of Mexico, Canada and the U.S. released long-awaited draft "North American Regional Action Plan on Lindane and Other Hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH) Isomers."
The government of Mexico has agreed to phase out all uses of lindane (an estimated 19 metric tons per year) under the Action Plan, and the government of Canada will monitor the remaining lindane used to control lice and scabies in Canada (an estimated 6 kg per year) and actively encourage the use of safer alternatives. Agricultural uses of lindane have already been phased out in Canada.
The U.S., in contrast, will continue to use 65-105 metric tons of lindane per year to treat grain seeds in six crops and an estimated 1,000 kg (one metric ton) per year to control lice and scabies. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be completing a reevaluation of lindane's use for seed treatment by August 2006, and is currently considering expanding U.S. uses to include canola seed treatment, not currently a registered use. As is noted in the Action Plan, lindane was identified by EPA as a candidate for phaseout in 1977.
As long time PANUPS readers know, lindane is a suspected carcinogen and hormone disruptor. It can cause seizures and damage to the nervous system, and can weaken the immune system. Case-controlled research shows a significant association between brain tumors in children and the use of lindane-containing lice shampoos.
The most common route of exposure to lindane is food consumption. Since lindane and its breakdown products persist in the environment, they can contaminate food and expose people and wildlife long after the pesticide is applied. Agricultural uses are largely responsible for the pervasiveness of lindane and its breakdown products in the Arctic environment. It is found there more often than any other pesticide. Indigenous peoples of the north who rely on traditional diets of marine mammals and fish are particularly at risk from lindane exposure through foods.
Recent studies from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that more than half of U.S. residents sampled carry HCH isomers in their bodies, and the highest levels are found among women of childbearing age.
The Lindane Action Plan
Development of the Action Plan was a three-year process coordinated under the Commission on Environmental Cooperation (CEC), a tri-national body established under the environmental side-agreement to NAFTA. A Lindane Task Force was established under the CEC's Sound Management of Chemicals working group, which has also commissioned Action Plans for chlordane, DDT, mercury and dioxins. Lindane is the first chemical targeted which is still registered for use in all three North American countries - Mexico, United States, and Canada.
In addition to the commitments of the three countries, the Action Plan outlines:
The Ban Lindane Now! Campaign
The ongoing Ban Lindane Now! campaign developed by PANNA and our partner groups is tri-national collaboration supporting:
For more information:
North American Regional Action Plan on Lindane and other Hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH) Isomers at http://www.cec.org/pubs_docs/documents/index.cfm?varlan=english&ID=1821;
Ban Lindane Now! web pages (with links to additional on-line resources) at http://www.panna.org/campaigns/lindane.htmlContact: PANNA (email@example.com)