| April 24
April 24 U.S.-grown apples are widely coated
with a pesticide that has been newly banned in the European
Union amid health concerns, and the United States is at least a
year behind in a required scientific assessment of the
pesticide, an environmental group said on Thursday.
The Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit health and
environmental advocacy group, sent a letter to the Environmental
Protection Agency asking for the agency to halt the use of
diphenylamine, also called DPA, until a new analysis shows DPA
levels on food are safe, the group said.
DPA, which is sprayed on apples after they are harvested to
help prevent browning, was first registered as a pesticide in
the United States in 1947, according to the EPA.
But recent concerns about the pesticide's potential links to
cancer led the European Union to ban fruits containing more than
0.1 part per million of DPA. That regulation took effect in
The EWG said consumers in the United States have reason to
be concerned about their own consumption of DPA. The United
States allows 10 parts per million of DPA residues in food.
A 2010 USDA analysis of raw apples found DPA on 80 percent of
the apples tested, EWG said.
"Apples, apple juice and applesauce are staples in the diets
of millions of children, so if there are potential risks to kids
from DPA, we need to know now," EWG senior scientist Sonya
Lunder said in a statement.
U.S. Apple Association spokeswoman Wendy Brannen said DPA
is safely used in U.S. apple production, and the residue levels
on apples are well below tolerance levels set by the government.
"There is no cause for concern and certainly not a safety
issue pertaining to DPA use here in the United States," said
The EPA is required under the federal Food Quality
Protection Act to conduct a scientific assessment of pesticides
every 15 years. But the Environmental Protection Agency has not
looked at DPA since the late 1990s.
In its last report, the EPA said DPA was "not likely" to be
carcinogenic, but said diphenylnitrosamine - an impurity of
technical grade diphenylamine - was classified as a probable
human carcinogen based on increased incidence of bladder tumors
in rats. The agency also expressed concern about the "structural
relationship to carcinogenic nitrosamines."
The EPA said in a statement that its evaluation in 1997
found "reasonable certainty of no harm" and added that if new
evidence challenges the safety of DPA, it will take action.
(Reporting by Carey Gillam in Kansas City; Editing by Dan