Journal of Community Health

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 231–244 | Cite as

Pesticide Sales in Low-Income, Minority Neighborhoods

  • Elizabeth J. Carlton
  • Harmon L. Moats
  • Marian Feinberg
  • Peggy Shepard
  • Robin Garfinkel
  • Robin Whyatt
  • David Evans


The US EPA has phased-out residential use of two organophosphate pesticides commonly used to control cockroaches—retail sales of chlorpyrifos were scheduled to end on 12/31/01, and diazinon on 12/31/02. In light of recent findings highlighting the associations between pests, pesticides and health, we surveyed stores in low-income, minority neighborhoods in New York City to determine whether the phase-outs have been effective and to assess the availability of alternatives to spray pesticides. In summer 2002, when sales of chlorpyrifos were illegal and diazinon still legal, we surveyed 106 stores selling pesticides. Four percent sold products containing chlorpyrifos and 40 percent sold products containing diazinon. One year later, when sales of both pesticides were to have ended, we surveyed 109 stores selling pesticides in the same neighborhoods and found chlorpyrifos in only one store and diazinon in 18 percent of stores, including 80 percent of supermarkets surveyed. At least one form of lower toxicity pesticides, including gels, bait stations and boric acid was available in 69 percent of stores in 2002. However sprays were most widely available, found in 94 percent of stores in 2002 and less expensive than lower toxicity baits and gels. In a separate survey of storekeeper recommendations conducted in 2002, storekeepers recommended lower toxicity pesticides as the best way to control cockroaches 79% of the time. The EPA's phase-outs have nearly eliminated sales of chlorpyrifos, but the diazinon phase-out appears to be less effective.

pesticides pest-control United States Environmental Protection Agency chlorpyrifos diazinon 


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth J. Carlton
    • 1
  • Harmon L. Moats
    • 2
  • Marian Feinberg
    • 3
  • Peggy Shepard
    • 4
  • Robin Garfinkel
    • 5
  • Robin Whyatt
    • 6
  • David Evans
    • 7
  1. 1.Columbia Center for Children's Environmental HealthNew York
  2. 2.Heart of Harlem Project, Mailman School of Public HealthColumbia UniversityNew York
  3. 3.South Bronx Clean Air CoalitionBronx
  4. 4.West Harlem Environmental Action Inc.New York
  5. 5.Columbia College of Physicians and SurgeonsUSA
  6. 6.Mailman School of Public HealthColumbia UniversityNew York
  7. 7.Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and Mailman School of Public HealthUSA

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