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USF biologists’ reports on fungicide catch the attention of EPA

Posted May 29, 2012 by Lindsay Peterson

Updated May 29, 2012 at 04:35 PM

The work of two USF researchers has caught the attention of the Environmental Protection Agency, which is studying their reports on chlorothalonil, also known as Bravo, as part of an agency review of the widely used fungicide.

USF biologists Jason Rohr and Taegan McMahon published a study earlier this month on the effects of chlorothalonil on creatures in tanks they set up to replicate conditions in a typical rural pond.

The chemical, even at low concentrations, killed many and disabled so many others that the “ecosystem was fundamentally changed,” Rohr said.

It wiped out the tadpoles in their tanks, they wrote in a report they published last year.

The chemical, in the same family as the banned DDT, kills molds and fungus by disrupting a process known as cellular respiration, which is essential to nearly all forms of life.

It’s one of the last organochlorines regulated for use in the United States, Europe and Australia, Rohr said.

The EPA is also reviewing a Minnesota study of how the spray fungicide drifts across residential areas near the potato farms where it’s used. Current EPA rules don’t address the health effects of breathing drifting chlorothalonil.

Both studies are being considered as part of an agency review that began in March, according to the EPA.

It’s inviting comment, but the deadline is today. To comment, go here.

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