|As you may know, I've been doing some work for the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) on sewage sludge. Right now I've been going through a LONG list of nasty chemicals found in sludge and creating pages for them on Sourcewatch, the wiki site maintained by CMD. Today, I thought I'd take a few minutes and add a little bit about arsenic-based pesticides on the arsenic page. It wouldn't take long. I'd just crack open my copy of The War on Bugs by Will Allen, get the info, write a paragraph or two, and I'd be done. Or so I thought.
You can see what I wrote here. My point of writing this up, I thought, was because arsenic was once used on food crops so much that many, if not most, Americans had measurable levels of arsenic in their bodies and even symptoms of mild to severe poisoning. Because arsenic is an element, it can't just break down and go away. I planned to wrap up my paragraph or two on arsenic with the date when arsenical pesticides were banned in the U.S.
Except, there wasn't a date given in the book. That's because, when the book was published two years ago several arsenicals were still legal. What??? Time to use the Google.
Google brought me to an EPA page from 2009, telling about the EPA's 2006 decision to ban several chemicals and their 2009 change of heart to continue allowing MSMA use on cotton. Additionally, MSMA can be used on golf courses, sod farms, and highway right-of-ways through the end of 2013.
So, if organic arsenicals are mostly illegal, how about inorganic arsenicals? Turns out two of those are still legal as well. Specifically, arsenic acid and arsenic pentoxide. Plus, of course, the use of roxarsone (an arsenical) on chickens. In other words, we're still putting plenty of arsenic in our environment, although less than before. Amazing, huh? This makes me wonder what ELSE we don't know.