EPA may approve neurotoxic pesticide that harms children 
Author Message
 EPA may approve neurotoxic pesticide that harms children


NewsTarget.com printable article
Originally published October 4 2006
EPA may approve neurotoxic pesticide that harms children
(NewsTarget) The EPA announced Aug. 3 that its 10-year review of U.S.
pesticide safety had been completed, and administrator Stephen L. Johnson
issued an optimistic statement that said, "By maintaining the highest
ethical and scientific standards in its pesticide review, EPA and the Bush
administration have planted the seeds to yield healthier lives for
generations of American families."
Environmental activists were skeptical about the statement, but,
surprisingly, so were some EPA scientists. In May, nine presidents of EPA
scientist unions and risk managers wrote a letter to Johnson expressing
concerns about the EPA considering approval of organophosphate (OP) and
carbamate pesticides. These chemicals can be neurotoxic, especially in
developing fetuses, infants and children.

"We think there's a lot of work that remains to be done in terms of getting
(adequate) developmental neurotoxicity data," said William Hirzy, a senior
scientist in the EPA's Office of Toxic Substances and vice president of the
National Treasury Employees Union Chapter 280. He added that union leaders
are concerned that the EPA is putting too much focus on "avoiding lawsuits
from the regulated community," and may be making decisions tailored toward
reduced restrictions rather than increased precautions.

The pesticide review was prompted by the 1996 cooking.net">food Quality Protection act,
which required the EPA to reassess the safety of tolerance levels for
pesticides used in or on processed foods. The EPA looked at tens of
thousands of studies conducted by EPA scientists, pesticide companies, and
other governmental agencies, and new risk-assessment tools were developed to
better identify chemicals that could harm human health or the environment.
The agency also considered opinions from public health watchdog groups,
interested industries, and their own advisory committees before announcing a
decision on each pesticide's allowable tolerance, followed by a 60-day
public comment period before finalizing the decisions.

Congress required the EPA to be finished by Aug. 3, at which point the EPA
reported it had completed 99 percent of its review. In all, the EPA
evaluated about 230 pesticide active ingredients and 870 inert pesticide
ingredients with nearly 10,000 tolerances, according to Anne Lindsay, deputy
director of the EPA Office of Pesticide Programs. On Aug. 3, the EPA
announced they were banning carbofuran and lindane -- which is banned in 52
other countries -- although lindane is still allowed for use directly on
children with scabies and lice, because the FDA regulates that particular

Carbofuran and lindane were not the only cancellations the agency made over
the 10-year review period, as 17 OP pesticides had been banned during the
process and the use of 15 more had been regulated, but both environmental
groups and some scientists were hoping no OPs would be allowed to

"The OP decision, I think, is a bad one," said Margaret Reeves, a senior
scientist with Pesticide Action Network North America, noting her
organization supports the EPA scientists' letter to Johnson.

The letter says that too few studies have been done on cooking.net">food use and the
developmental neurotoxicity of food-use OPs and carbamate pesticides, which
usually means the EPA is required to use an additional 10-fold safety factor
for assessing the risks of pesticide tolerances, as per the FQPA. The letter
urged the EPA to use the 10-fold safety factor for the remaining OP and
carbamate pesticides under consideration, but Reeves said that might still
be inadequate, as some animals, people and age groups are better able to
break down the chemicals in their bodies than others.

"The intraspecies variability is much greater than often considered and much
greater than would be (covered by) the FQPA 10-fold factor," Reeves said.

In the wake of the criticisms from environmental activists and their own
scientists, the EPA administrators supported the assessments made in the
review, maintaining that approved pesticides pose no health risks.

"We think we have really set a very high bar for pesticide safety in this
country," said Lindsay. "If you are eating cooking.net">food purchased in the U.S., it's
really safe."

Many people disagree. Brenda Eskenazi, director of the NIEHS Center for
Children's Environmental Health Research at the University of California,
Berkeley, said that it was a well-known fact that acute, high-level exposure
to OP and carbamate pesticides caused profound neurotoxicity, but added that
some evidence suggests lower-level exposure could cause neurotoxicity in
fetuses. A number of studies are now being conducted to measure potential
health consequences in older children, Eskenazi said, but noted that,
because most people are exposed to multiple pesticides simultaneously, it is
hard to pinpoint a single agent as the cause of an observed health problem.

The union leaders within the EPA have said that the uncertainty surrounding
many of the pesticides is grounds enough for their banning.

"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," the letter states.

Thu, 02 Apr 2009 09:55:30 GMT
 [ 1 post ] 

 Relevant Pages 

1. EPA charged with protecting pesticide industry, ignoring public health concerns

2. Omega-3 fatty acid EPA found in fish oil may help in persistant depression

3. Omega-3 fatty acid EPA found in fish oil may help in persistant depression

4. Omega-3 fatty acid EPA found in fish oil may help in persistant depression

5. [Gatorade: Any harm for Children?]

6. Abortion can harm your unborn child !

7. Cold medicine scam finally exposed after decades of harming children

8. Alternative Medicine causes child grievous bodily harm: Doctors save her life using real Medicine

9. Tooth extractions can harm your child's face

10. Some Orthodontists will harm your child for money

Powered by phpBB® Forum Software