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EPA reports pesticide traces can linger in homes

An indoor air study for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)suggests that traces of pesticides may remain trapped in homes years after the chemicals are used.

EPA officials characterized the chemical levels found in samples of air in homes in Florida and Massachusetts as "uniformly low" and not great enough to pose a health concern. The report concluded that "no risks of major concern were identified."

But some charged that the study was being underplayed by the EPA.

"These findings call into question some of the fundamental assumptions we have made about the safety of chemical pesticides," said Rep. James Scheuer, D-N.Y. The study by an EPA consultant examined indoor air in 259 homes in

Jacksonville and the Springfield-Chicopee area in Massachusetts to determine the residue levels from 32 pesticides.

Some of the highest levels found inside the houses involved chemicals commonly used to control termites. Other chemicals were associated with various household products from flea sprays to bathroom disinfectants.

A number of the chemicals were found in the houses at levels much greater than what was found outdoors. But the EPA characterized the concentrations as "very low levels."

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