EPA tacitly endorses testing pesticides on children?

It’s not quite a published guideline yet, but the Environmental Protection Agency is apparently poised to issue some new guidelines about testing pesticides that are predictably more pro-business and pro-chemical company than they are protecting our citizens.
The Washington Post, for example, is reporting on this in its article entitled EPA Devises Rules on the Use of Data From Pesticide Tests on Humans, wherein they note:
“Much of the controversy centers on whether it is acceptable to expose children and pregnant women to pesticides under any circumstances. One EPA official, who asked not to be identified because the agency has not published its proposal, said the EPA wanted to let manufacturers keep the option of testing on children such products as mosquito and tick repellents to ascertain their efficacy”


Maybe it’s just me, but this gives me the heebie-jeebies. I mean, isn’t the role of the EPA to be protecting the environment and, by extension, the people who are part of that environment?
More choice passages from this article:
“For years, federal officials allowed manufacturers to conduct human studies on the grounds that they provided a clearer picture of how pesticides could affect the environment and public health. President Bill Clinton imposed a moratorium in 1998 out of concern that such tests harmed volunteers; although President Bush initially backed the moratorium, his administration abandoned it in 2003 to satisfy a court ruling in favor of pesticide makers, which argued that the federal government had not engaged the public fully enough before banning the information. EPA officials now consider data from human experiments on a case-by-case basis when judging whether to approve pesticides.”
And, finally:
“Leo Trasande, assistant director of the Mount Sinai Center for Children’s Health and the Environment, said after reviewing the proposal that the agency is on “a dangerous slippery slope” that could allow pesticide makers to conduct questionable studies as long as they said they were not aimed at gauging their products’ toxicity. “The EPA is again failing in its duty to protect children from pesticides and other toxic exposures,” he said.”
What do you think? Ready to have companies spray us with chemicals, or offer our kids $20 to drink a mysterious potion, just to see what happens and collect some data?
I’m not.

10 comments on “EPA tacitly endorses testing pesticides on children?

  1. Ok, I read what was written.
    Now, explain how we are to determine what the effects of pesticides will be on people. Are we to just hope for the best? Are we to use animals, and hope the results carry over to humans? Are we to stop the use of pesticides altogether, because we don’t want to know what they do?
    It’s all well and good to be cautious, but simply complaining without offering any alternatives is just that: simply complaining. What *are* the alternatives?

  2. So you’re telling me that you’re okay with your children being deliberately exposed to pesticides so these companies can learn what happens when children encounter these chemicals?

  3. Dave, I just was reviewing the BBS speakers and found the link to your site. It’s great to find a place for AP/Waldorf parents. I’m a mom to 4 yo twins. And, I work part time for a team that has a blog. I look forward to meeting you next week.
    And, on testing pesticides on kids. I certainly don’t know enough about this domain to really comment on policy. I do think we have enough data to know that children’s bodies react differently than adults (so there might be a good reason to test the pesticides separately). I would like better understanding of which things are (likely less) safe for kids vs adults. But, I do know this – I certainly wouldn’t want my kids to be part of the test. And, I vote with my wallet pretty heavily against pesticides (by buying organic).

  4. The EPA guideline allows for the testing of “repellants” not “pesticides”. Your argument is irrelevant.

  5. Cesar Chavez’s UFW is very concerned w/this issue & has put up an e-mail campaign so you can voice your opinion.
    http://www.unionvoice.org/campaign/humantesting
    Tell the EPA to stop pesticide testing on humans!
    According to articles in yesterday’s Washington Post and Baltimore Sun, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is set to release regulations that will allow pesticide manufacturers to test their products on human beings. Such a move would allow tests that put people—especially children and pregnant women—at risk.
    The Clinton administration declared a moratorium human testing in 1998, but the Bush administration lifted this moratorium in 2003.
    The EPA now wants to open the door for pesticide manufacturers to intentionally expose humans to these often dangerous chemicals. The Baltimore Sun reported, “’This is a very important ethical, scientific and clinical issue, and they are going to try to fool the American public about its intent,’ said an EPA toxicologist who requested anonymity for fear of retribution. ‘It’s a magician’s trick.’”
    The Baltimore Sun noted last year the EPA planned a study in Florida where it would have paid low income parents each time they applied pesticides, then monitor the resulting exposure in their children.
    Enough is enough. It’s time for the EPA to do its job and protect people from dangerous pesticides. Instead of coming up with plans to put the public at risk it should protect the most vulnerable from harm. Several months ago, the United Farm Workers called on the EPA to implement a simple blood test to track pesticide exposure with farm workers who mix, load, and apply pesticides. Such programs have successfully protected farm workers in California and Washington. The agency declined to take action.
    Send your email today and demand EPA ban all human pesticide testing and to protect those who are most vulnerable to these toxic chemicals.
    Go to: http://www.unionvoice.org/campaign/humantesting

  6. Let’s say a company invents a great new mosquito pesticide. Tests it on animals- safe. Tests it on adult human volunteers- safe. Now what? Should it go straight out into the market? Or should the company be required to prove that it’s safe for children and pregrant women? And if it can’t test, how can it prove that?
    What seems to be going on here is an attempt to prevent any new pesticides from ever reaching the market- which is a shame, because advances in chemistry can produce safer, more environmentally friendly pesticides than the ones currently in use.

  7. It’s strange that people think it’s ok to test products on children! People get a grip! Damage done to a child can or will result in permanent damage that will last them the rest of their lives, and what if it causes cancer, then what? Do you want to have on your conscience a child born with defects? Or would you suggest just aborting the child after finding defects that were deliberately caused?
    For crying out loud! It would be better to go a little organic than to test unknown chemicals on innocent children! Grown-ups can sign consent forms and the like. Adults can make informed decision and can know what is happening to them. If accounts are correct, what I’ve read on this, these are children taken out of the care of parents, those who are under government custody, and those who are mentally handicapped. If this is true, then this smacks of Nazi Germany pre-WWII!
    Dave

  8. How dangerous is mercury contamination?
    I help run a blog for a doctor (http://tinyurl.com/9ma22) who just published an interesting article about mercury levels in fish. It was pretty surprising: According to a report, a lot of fish enters the United States without being tested for the toxic metal mercury. Some fish is so contaminated that young children and pregnant women should never eat it. Not all fish is highly polluted, but tilefish, swordfish, mackerel, shark, white snapper, and tuna contain the highest levels of mercury.

  9. I am an Environmental Technician and the mother of four and also am expecting my fifth child. Reading the information that you have on human testing is outrageous and very inhuman. I love my children too much to have tham exposed for anything, and also to be tested like lab rats. Anyone that reads these articles should not push it aside, they should open up and speak for people that do not have a voice to speak. Human testing is againts man kind, we were not put here to be lab rats!

  10. I suspect that there is a fundamental misunderstanding here.
    Have you ever gone camping? Have you ever been one of the millions of people who uses insect repellent? Have you ever sprayed that repellent on your children?
    Maybe you personally have not, but millions of people have.
    People are going to use these products on their children, with or without testing…. wouldn’t you feel safer knowing that a product which was generally considered to be safe for adults… has gone through the additional step of testing to ensure that it is also safe on children?
    Or would you prefer to just blindly use the product without any testing at all?

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