The head of the Environmental Protection Agency has banned use of the insecticide Diazinon on golf courses and sod farms because it kills too many birds, the agency said Wednesday.

The decision by Administrator Lee M. Thomas overrules an administrative law judge, who on Jan. 25 found that the benefits of using Diazinon outweighed the risks and recommended continued use under certain restrictions.The decision, effective on publication in the Federal Register in a few days, represents the first time that the use of a pesticide has been canceled solely because it killed birds, said spokesman Al Heier.

About 8 million pounds of Diazinon are used each year to control insects on farms, in nurseries and around homes and gardens as well as on golf courses and sod farms.