U.S. Reps. Solis and Bishop Propose Ban on EPA Support for Pesticide Experiments on People

For Immediate Release: 
Thursday, May 19, 2005

(WASHINGTON, May 19) — As Congress prepares to vote on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) budget for the next year, U.S. Representatives Hilda Solis of California and Tim Bishop of New York will introduce an amendment that would bar the Agency from using staff time or money to analyze data from pesticide tests on human subjects. Their amendment also bars the EPA from conducting human pesticide experiments on its own.

"Representatives Solis and Bishop's amendment puts EPA's testing policies back on solid ethical footing," said Environmental Working Group (EWG) Senior Vice President Richard Wiles. "The federal government must not in any way support the highly unethical practice of dosing people with pesticides. These tests are even more repugnant when one considers that their sole purpose is to weaken public health protections," said Wiles.

President Clinton banned the use of human testing data to set health standards for pesticides. President Bush overturned the ban, but then reinstated it after a public outcry, and commissioned a National Academy of Sciences (NAS) review of the policy. Recently, the administration has proposed human testing guidelines that largely ignore the NAS committee recommendations for tough ethical rules and clear scientific protocols. Instead, the administration has decided to accept human study results on a case-by-case basis, even though the EPA has not developed, and does not plan to, ethical rules or scientific protocols for conducting human pesticide tests.

In April 2005, Senator Barbara Boxer of California put a hold on the appointment of Stephen Johnson as EPA Administrator pending cancellation of a controversial study of pesticide exposure in children. The study, known as CHEERS, involved $2 million of chemical industry money, and proposed to pay families $970 to videotape their own toddlers exposing themselves indoors to pesticides and other dangerous chemicals.

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