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Farmworkers and environmental groups reopened a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency in an attempt to force the agency to more quickly phase out the use of a pesticide that the groups contend has been poisoning fieldworkers for decades.

The federal lawsuit challenges a decision by the EPA last November to set a 2012 timetable for phasing out the pesticide azinphos-methyl, commonly called guthion or AZM for short.

The pesticide has been applied to apples, cherries, pears and other crops since the late 1950s.

The farmworkers and environmental groups, represented by the environmental law firm Earthjustice, sued the EPA in federal court in Seattle in 2004, arguing that the agency was wrong to continue allowing the use of a pesticide that could cause dizziness, vomiting, seizures, paralysis, loss of mental function and even death. That lawsuit was put on hold when the EPA agreed to reconsider the use of AZM and another pesticide, phosmet, which is used on orchard crops and blueberries. => full article

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