9,000 EPA Scientists Call for an End to Compromising Safety Mandate to Protect Human Health and the Environment Threatened

From: Robina Suwol
Date: 27 Jul 2006
Time: 18:02:55
Remote Name:


By: Pesticide Action Network North America
Published: Jul 26, 2006 at 09:20

In 1996, under the Food Quality Protection Act, Congress gave the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 10 years to complete its assessment of the health impacts of hundreds of pesticides being used in homes, gardens and agriculture. The most acutely hazardous neurotoxic pesticides - the organophosphates (OPs) and carbamates - were the first group to be evaluated under EPA's review process.

August 3, 2006 marks the end of that 10-year period. Although the EPA apparently plans to have its review of OPs and most of the carbamates complete by that date, thousands of scientists within the Agency have expressed serious concern that the evaluations are incomplete and that the EPA is threatening to allow the continued use of toxic pesticides despite ample information showing that they are too hazardous to be used safely.

Scientists at the EPA, along with public health and environmental advocacy groups, are calling for the EPA to refuse approval of organophosphate and carbamate pesticides. Pesticide Action Network North America is asking the public to send comments before August 3rd to the EPA to stop the registration of several OP and carbamate pesticides. ( http://ga4.org/campaign/revokeOPs ) Toxic Pesticides Harm Human Health

Organophosphates and carbamates are highly toxic classes of pesticides used to kill insects. OPs are linked to ill health effects, such as cancer, neurological problems (including Parkinson's Disease), respiratory illness, and developmental problems. Not only are farmers and farm workers adversely affected but well-documented evidence now shows that children and families living near agricultural areas may suffer serious short and long term health problems from OP exposure. Symptoms of low-dose exposure to these pesticides may include headaches, agitation, inability to concentrate, weakness, tiredness, nausea, diarrhea and blurred vision. At higher doses, abdominal cramps, vomiting, sweating, tearing, muscular tremors, low blood pressure, and slow heartbeat and breathing may occur.

9,000 EPA Scientists Call for an End to Compromising Safety; Pesticide Cancellation Needed to Protect Born and Unborn Children. In May 2006, unions representing more than 9,000 EPA scientists made public their serious concerns that pressure from pesticide manufacturers is directly responsible for EPA administrators' actions to compromise the Agency's regulatory responsibilities. The scientists assert that it is a "perversion of the constitutional process and betrayal of the public trust for the Agency to fail to adhere to the mandates of the Food Quality Protection Act."

PANNA joins EPA staff scientists and advocacy groups in calling for an overhaul of an EPA regulatory process that has been corrupted by individuals on staff of EPA working in collusion with the pesticide/chemical industries to blatantly dismiss appropriate precaution and push forward policy that is harmful to public health.

The scientists also call for the EPA to immediately pull OPs and carbamates from the market. The May 24, 2006 letter to EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson states, "Until EPA can state with scientific confidence that these pesticides will not hurt the neurological development of our nation's born and unborn children, there is no justification to continue the registration of the use of the remaining OP and carbamate pesticides."

EPA scientists feel strongly that substantial data gaps remain leading to underestimates of risks, especially neurotoxicity. In addition, they stated:
"EPA's risk assessments cannot state with confidence the degree to which any exposure of a fetus, infant or child to a pesticide will or will not adversely affect their neurological development."


Last changed: July 27, 2006