Frequently Asked Questions

BACKGROUND

 

What is Furadan?

Furadan is an insecticidal and nematicidal product that has been used for 40 years. It functions through contact and systemic activity controlling soil, foliar insects and nematodes in many crops.

 

Why do you sell it?  

We sell it because there is a need for it. It gives growers the ability to control a wide variety of soil and foliar pests in one product.  It is affordable for growers to use so they can grow their crops for harvest.

 

Is it dangerous?

The product has been used safely, effectively, and economically in agriculture for more than 40 years. To avoid any potential misuse, we goes to great lengths to educate stakeholders, including distributors, growers, and applicators, as to the safe and effective methods to use of Furadan and other chemicals we sell. Additionally, we support a robust regulatory environment with regard to the safe use, storage, transport and distribution of crop protection products.

 

Is food treated with carbofuran safe for people to eat?

Yes, it is. The U.S. EPA has gone on record that carbofuran residues on domestic crops are below their level of concern for the US population and all population subgroups (refer to May 25, 2009 Federal Register). EPA based their decision on computer models showing theoretical residues in water – not in food.  FMC has been challenging the U.S. EPA - not for the continued sales of Furadan in the U.S. which are admittedly modest, but rather, because the company believes firmly that the product is safe.

 

How long has carbofuran been on the market?

It was first registered in the United States in 1969 and in Kenya in 1989.

 

Who else sells carbofuran?

Bayer Crop Science sells carbofuran under the name Curaterr in certain parts of the world. In addition, there are generic producers of carbofuran out of China who sell their products in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

 

 

PRODUCT SALES

 

Does FMC allow unrestricted sales of Furadan in third world countries?

Growers in third world countries may only purchase Furadan in retail shops that are officially licensed to sell agricultural products. The overwhelming majority of growers have been using the product responsibly and safely for over 40 years. 

 

Is FMC still selling Furadan 5G in East Africa?

No. Beginning in the spring of 2009, FMC implemented a Furadan buy-back program from distribution centers and retailers in Kenya, and during the summer of 2009, the company implemented the same program in Uganda and Tanzania. That same year FMC sent its own personnel and a specially-retained consultant to Kenya and surrounding countries, traveling over 25,000 kilometers to search for Furadan in local “Agrovet” retail shops (where many farmers shop for their agricultural supplies) to encourage them to participate in our buy-back program. FMC exported from Africa all Furadan that it repurchased from Africa in February 2010. The buy-back programs in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania continue today for any Furadan product that might still be found in these countries.

 

Is Furadan 4F still being sold in East Africa?

It is still being sold only in the very restricted commercial horticultural market to users who have the training and qualifications to use it safely and safeguard it from potential misuse.

 

Is generic carbofuran available in East Africa?

Generic carbofuran is not registered in Kenya. Other parts of East Africa might have generic carbofuran. FMC is not the sole manufacturer of carbofuran and we have removed our granular product from East Africa.

 

Is FMC still selling Furadan in South Africa?

FMC stopped selling Furadan in South Africa in 2010 and has no plans to re-introduce it.

 

Does FMC sell Furadan in other parts of Africa?

FMC sells Furadan in Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Cameroon, Mali and Zambia. Sales in Zambia are mainly to one industrial user through Arysta, our distributor there.

 

Why was the Furadan buy-back in East Africa necessary?

The buyback was necessary because illegal and intentional misuse of chemicals against wildlife could not be controlled by education or stewardship programs alone. The decision was made to stop selling Furadan in East Africa and buy-back existing product in the channel trade, as a preventative measure.

 

Did the buy-back work?

The program was effective at removing substantially all Furadan from the affected markets and is still open for any additional Furadan that is found in those markets.

 

Where was the repurchased product shipped?

All repurchased products were sent to FMC's distributor's warehouse in Nairobi. The product was then shipped to one of FMC's formulation plants in secure drums.

 

Does FMC intend to start selling Furadan again in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda?

FMC has no plans to re-introduce the product in these countries in the future.

 

Is counterfeit product a problem?

Counterfeit products are a continuing problem in some African countries. Given the positive brand recognition with farmers, counterfeit products using the Furadan name are common. FMC found counterfeit product being sold under the Furadan brand name during its buy-back program and removed whatever it found from the marketplace.

 

 

OTHER MARKETS

 

What is the current situation with Furadan in the United States?

The U.S. EPA revoked all carbofuran crop tolerances including import tolerances in the United States effective December 31, 2009. FMC believes this action was not scientifically valid and not in accordance with the procedures outlined in the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act. FMC has filed objections and requested an administrative hearing to challenge EPA’s decision to revoke all the carbofuran tolerances. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ordered the EPA to reinstate the import tolerances for carbofuran for rice, bananas, coffee and sugar cane. The Court did not overturn the EPA's decision to deny an administrative hearing regarding revocation of domestic tolerances. For this reason, FMC will now be filing a petition requesting the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case.

 

Why does FMC continue to sell Furadan in developing countries while the United States and European Union consider carbofuran to be too dangerous for humans, birds and other wildlife?

FMC sells Furadan and other products like it to help growers meet the demands of an ever-increasing human population on the world's food supply. Proper use of these products allows farmers to continue to farm efficiently and maintain favorable crop yields. FMC's Furadan brand of carbofuran has a long history as a safe and effective product for sustaining agriculture. The granular formulation was sold in Kenya for growers to use to control pests that are very destructive to crops – for example, nematodes, aphids, grubs, weevils, stalk borers.

 

Is Furadan being intentionally misused in any other parts of the world?  If so, how is it being addressed?

Any reports of misuse are investigated to determine the details of what happened. If trends are identified, then mitigation measures are put into place which range from removing a use from a label to stopping sales.


Are there other products that could be used in place of Furadan in Kenya?

There is only one other product, an organophosphate, which is registered in Kenya that controls the same pests in the same crops. This product has equivalent toxicity to carbofuran. It is scientifically well known that continuous use of a single product can lead to insect resistance and the loss of the crop. This would be an unacceptable solution for Kenya agriculture and the growers who depend on crops for their livelihood.



IMPROPER USE


What is FMC's position on product misuse?

FMC is very concerned about any unlawful use of our products, especially misuse that results in harm to the public health, wildlife, or the environment. We monitor and report incidents of misuse to local governments, and we support strong enforcement actions against illegal pesticide use regardless of where it occurs.

 

Isn't it illegal to use pesticides for things other than what is on the label? What are the consequences for doing that?

It is illegal to use a pesticide or other chemical product for other than its intended purpose as stated on the product label. The consequences vary by country, but range from fines to imprisonment. In Kenya specifically, Pest Control Products Board investigators have the authority to bring criminal charges against those who misuse chemical products.

 

Why have you removed Furadan from some markets?

We removed it from East Africa because there were reports that it was being intentionally misused to harm wildlife.  Even though there was no confirmable evidence that Furadan was the product that was involved, we decided to remove it from the East African market out of an abundance of caution. Unfortunately, illegal and intentional misuse against wildlife could not be controlled in these markets by education or stewardship programs alone, so in this case removing the product was the right thing to do.

 

Does it kill lions and other wildlife?

The poisoning of wildlife with pesticides can occur only through intentional misuse, and there has been no confirmable evidence that Furadan has been involved in any pesticide poisonings. But in order to uphold safe use we:

o    support the need for appropriate sales and security systems for all pesticide products; and

o    promote improved labeling, packaging and formulations to minimize the risk of misuse and poisoning.

To ensure the safe use of Furadan and all our products:

o   we invest in stewardship programs to ensure Furadan and all our products are used safely throughout their life cycle; and

o   every year, training is offered in the responsible and safe use of our pesticides, to educate a wide range of stakeholders from retailers, families, and children.

 

How has FMC responded to allegations of Furadan's misuse in Kenya?

When allegations surfaced in the spring of 2008 in the Maasai Mara region, we immediately stopped the introduction of any additional Furadan into the sales channel in Kenya. In addition, we conducted our own investigation led by a senior toxicology manager. We also offered technical assistance to the Kenyan government official investigation. Both investigations concluded that there was no connection between the deaths of the lions and Furadan.

 

Is it true that carbofuran has been responsible for the deaths of eagles and other endangered bird species?

Carbofuran is toxic to birds, but the risk of exposure to a lethal dose can be managed by following label directions. There have been reports of bird deaths from normal use, accidental spills and intentional baiting, but such reports have declined since 1991 as a result of measures implemented to mitigate the risk.  Since these protective measures were put in place, there have been no reported incidents of bird mortality resulting from labeled uses of carbofuran since 2000.

 

 

EDUCATION AND STEWARDSHIP

 

What does FMC specifically do to ensure Furadan is not intentionally misused to kill fish, birds and other valuable wildlife in Kenya?

In the Agricultural Products Group, significant time is spent training and educating distributors and farmers on the safe and responsible use of our products. FMC also supports ongoing stewardship programs funded by CropLife International and the local CropLife association. In addition, we monitor misuse through our distributor and the existing system in the Kenya Pest Control Products Board which investigates reports of deliberate misuse of pesticides.

 

Why don’t you just add something to your product to keep lions and other wildlife from ingesting it?

FMC has initiated new research to see if a bittering agent can be added that will effectively deter wildlife from ingesting our granular product. In addition, we believe there might be other product stewardship approaches for wildlife that will help ensure the product will only be put in the hands of responsible parties. We are currently exploring these approaches as well.

 

Does FMC have dedicated resources to address product stewardship worldwide? 

The Agricultural Products Group has a dedicated Global Product Stewardship Manager who manages the product stewardship program through a network of employees who are in various locations around the world. Every year, training is offered in the responsible and safe use of our pesticides, to educate a wide range of stakeholders from retailers, families, and children. In addition, FMC works with CropLife organizations around the world which supports the FAO's International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides and conducts product stewardship training in individual countries.

May 31, 2011
U.S. Supreme Court Denies Review of EPA Decision on Carbofuran Domestic Tolerances
The U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition by FMC Corporation and three national grower groups for review of a lower appellate court ruling which had upheld the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to deny an administrative hearing on the revocation of domestic tolerances for carbofuran.

March 01, 2011
Counterfeit Product Found in Uganda
FMC in cooperation with a leading NGO in East Africa, confirmed that a container of substance labeled as Furadan 5G was in fact counterfeit product.  FMC requests that if anyone finds product in East Africa with Furadan 5G labels on it, please contact the company through this website so we can test the material and investigate its production.

July 23, 2010
FMC Responds to U.S. Appeals Court Rulings on Carbofuran; Court Overturns Revocation of Import Tolerances
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit today ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reinstate import tolerances for carbofuran for rice, bananas, coffee and sugar cane. Although the court did not endorse EPA's views on the safety of carbofuran, for procedural reasons it did not overturn the agency's decision to deny an administrative hearing regarding revocation of domestic tolerances. FMC Corporation, the U.S. registrant for carbofuran (Furadan), while satisfied with the reinstatement of import tolerances, has not determined if further legal action will be taken regarding the continued denial of an administrative hearing until it can conduct a careful review of the court's opinion.

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