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Tough To Swallow

Sunday, August 31, 1997

Tough To Swallow

How Pesticide Companies Profit from Poisoning America’s Tap Water

View and Download the report here: Tough To Swallow

As the result of a law passed by Congress last year, millions of Americans and hundreds of water suppliers across the Midwest- ern United States have a new, first line of defense against the agricultural weed killers that have contaminated their tap water for decades.

The 1996 law––the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA)–– closed a gaping loophole in Federal pesticide laws. It requires that food tolerances (safe levels) take into account all exposure to pesticides––including, for the first time, exposure via drinking water––and that this aggregate exposure must be safe for infants and children. FQPA pro- hibits the use of a pesticide on food crops if the risk from the pesticide via drinking water (or any other route) exceeds the new, more protective safety benchmark in the Act. Prior to last year’s law, health risks from pesticides were addressed only under the authority of the Safe Drinking Water Act.

One of the most important implications of FQPA is that it finally fixes responsibility for widespread, long term herbicide contamination of Midwestern tap water squarely where it belongs: on huge, highly profitable pesticide companies like Novartis (formerly Ciba) and Monsanto.

These pesticide companies have made billions of dollars selling more than 100 million pounds of these weed killers to farmers, every year for decades. They have sold these products with full knowledge that the pesticides will find their way into drinking water.

View and Download the report here: Tough To Swallow

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