Federal regulators announced this morning that the pesticide aldicarb — made at Bayer CropScience’s plant in Institute — will be phased out because of “unacceptable dietary risks” from eating food tainted with the chemical.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials confirmed they had reached a deal with Bayer to stop production of aldicarb, under Bayer’s brand name Temik, by Dec. 31, 2014.
“A new risk assessment conducted by EPA based on recently submitted toxicity data indicates that aldicarb no longer meets our rigorous food safety standards and may pose unacceptable dietary risks, especially to infants and young children,” EPA said in a statement.
On Monday, Kanawha Valley officials began bracing for the news after Bayer plant management told Institute employees and local elected officials about the impending EPA announcement.
“The EPA is pretty much going to make them quit making it,” said Nitro Mayer Rusty Casto, one of several public officials who spoke publicly about the matter despite Bayer’s insistence that it be kept quiet until the formal announcement.
Bayer did not respond Monday afternoon to repeated e-mails and phone calls seeking comment, and then put out a prepared statement after business hours that said the company “is cooperating with the Environmental Protection Agency following today’s announcement” to ban the use of aldicarb on potatoes and citrus crops.
Aldicarb is the active ingredient in Bayer’s brand name product Temik, and is made in part with methyl isocyanate, the deadly chemical responsible for the 1984 disaster at Union Carbide’s Bhopal, India, plant.
Temik is a pesticide used on a variety of crops including citrus, coffee, cotton, dry beans, peanuts, potatoes, sugar beats and tobacco, according to Bayer’s website. It is used in a granular form below the surface of soils to control beetles, mites and other insects.