“The Service worked with EPA, the malathion registrants and USDA to develop general and species-specific conservation measures that significantly reduce many of the effects of malathion use on listed species and their critical habitats,” said Gary Frazer, the wildlife service’s assistant director for ecological services.

U.S. wildlife officials have reversed their previous finding that a widely used and highly toxic pesticide could jeopardize dozens of plants and animals with extinction, after receiving pledges from chemical manufacturers that they will change product labels for malathion so that it’s used more carefully by consumers, AP reports.

Federal regulations for malathion have been under review in response to longstanding complaints that the pesticide kills many protected plants and animals. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined last April that malathion could threaten the continued existence of 78 imperiled species and cause lesser harm to many more.

Wildlife officials reversed their position on the 78 species in a Feb. 28 biological opinion following talks between malathion manufacturers, officials from the wildlife service and the Environmental Protection Agency, according to documents reviewed by The Associated Press in advance of their public release.

Wildlife service officials now say malathion could cause limited harm to hundreds of species, but is unlikely to jeopardize any of them with extinction, as long as labels that dictate its use are changed.

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