September 6, 2008

Are "Inerts" Benign?

Original post August 17th,2008

Cocktail: A mixture, usually in solution
Benign: Having little or no detrimental effect, harmless

When a pesticide poisoning is believed to have taken place, much attention is usually paid to the active ingredient in the pesticide product. The percentage of active ingredient in a formulation can range form 5% to 90%. The other percentage of the product is a cocktail of chemicals ranging from solvents to lesser “active pesticides" (1). These other ingredients are often referred to as “inerts”. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “an inert ingredient may have biological activity of it’s own, may be toxic to humans, and may be chemically active.” In 1997 the E.P.A. issued a notice which, “encourages manufacturers, formulators, producers, and registrants of pesticide products to voluntarily substitute the term ‘other ingredient’ as a heading for the inert ingredients in the ingredient statement on the label of the pesticide product.” “Many consumers are mislead by the term “inert ingredient,” believing it to mean “harmless” (2). State, federal, and international agencies have classified 26 percent of “inert ingredients” (about 600 chemicals) as hazardous.

1. "A Case Study of a Week-Long Pesticide Cocktail"

2. Inert (other) Ingredients in Pesticide Products

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