Public Interest Groups Appeal Re-registration of Aldicarb For Florida Citrus

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) received a petition for review on Wednesday claiming that the agency should not have re-registered aldicarb, a pesticide, for use on oranges and grapefruit in Florida. Aldicarb’s registration had previously been canceled due to alleged danger. The petition was filed by the Farmworker Association of Florida, the Environmental Working Group, and the Center for Biological Diversity with the D.C. Circuit. 

Wednesday’s petition addresses EPA-Registration No. 87895-2, which occurred on January 12, 2021, and four attachments to the registration, which registered additional products or amended product labels. The plaintiffs claimed that the re-registration of aldicarb was rushed through at the end of the Trump Administration without sufficient time being given to consider the consequences. 

“The decision allows 100,000 acres of citrus to be treated with up to 2.5 million pounds of products containing aldicarb, a pesticide banned in more than 100 countries and one of only 36 pesticides classified as ‘extremely hazardous’ by the World Health Organization,” a press release from the Center for Biological Diversity said. 

The press release claimed that aldicarb’s approval could cause harm to the health of farmworkers, specifically, it claimed the pesticide is a neurotoxin that can harm brain development in children, and cause “developmental defects, dizziness and blurred vision, abdominal pain, and vomiting.” Despite this potential harm, the plaintiffs reported that the registration occurred “with lightning speed” just days after the required public comment period ended, and was finalized eight days before the presidential administration transition. The plaintiffs claimed that citrus industry representatives lobbied the EPA to re-approve aldicarb. 

“The outrageous decision to just ignore all the troubling research and expand use of this dangerous neurotoxin reeks of political interference,” said Nathan Donley, a Center for Biological Diversity scientist in the press release. “We’re asking the court to make the EPA do its job and protect people and the environment. Florida’s rivers, lakes and streams should not be a dumping ground for poisons forbidden in countries across much of the globe.”

The Center for Biological Diversity said that the EPA and Bayer AG agreed to end aldicarb use in 2011 after studies showed that it caused a high risk to infants and children, and the uses of aldicarb were then phased out.  With the recent re-registration, the plaintiffs claimed that use of aldicarb on crops in Florida is “projected to exponentially increase.” 

The plaintiffs are represented by attorneys with the Center for Biological Diversity.