The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will no longer allow carbofuran pesticide residues on domestic or imported food. In making the decision, the EPA explained that carbofuran is a neurotoxin which poses a high safety risk for small children and sensitive individuals. A 2006 EPA document reported the death of 84 percent of a flock of mallard ducks that landed on an alfalfa field that had been treated with carbofuran the week before.
Carbofuran is used worldwide to combat insects on bananas, coffee, rice, sugar cane, alfalfa, corn, potatoes, sunflowers, and soybeans. Carbofuran has one of the highest toxicities to humans of the insecticides commonly used on crops. One quarter of a teaspoon can be lethal for humans. Some of the symptoms of carbofuran poisoning include muscle weakness, dizziness, sweating, headache, salivation, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, blurred vision, incoordination, muscle twitching and slurred speech.
Carbofuran is just one of the chemicals to which we may be exposed by living in modern society. Many people buy “organic” produce because they fear the effects of chemical residues, but they may not be aware of the harmful effects of chemicals in fire retardants, fabric softeners, cleaning products, and cosmetics that can be found in every home.