EPA’s Actions On Human Pesticide Testing: Confused Priorities, Motives

I was really starting to get tired of complaining about corrupt industries. First, it was tobacco. Then came financial services, real estate, insurance, pharmaceutical — the list goes on. But when I found out that in 2006, the EPA canceled its ban on human pesticide testing, I had to put my censure moratorium on hold.

According to a statement from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), public records show that researchers paid people “to eat or drink pesticides, to enter pesticide vapor ‘chambers,’ or to have pesticides sprayed into their eyes or rubbed onto their skin.”

“In one experiment,” the NRDC statement adds, “the people tested were even told that the chemical was a medicine instead of a pesticide.” Under the rule in place since 2006, it is legal for adults get paid for pesticide testing done on their own children.

It’s bad enough that these products are releasing their harmful toxins into our environment, inevitably affecting human health as well. The pesticide companies know their products are harmful; that’s why their effects on humans need to be measured in the first place.

The good news is that EPA Secretary Lisa Jackson is taking another positive step forward to reverse the corruption that took place under the previous administration: Under a proposed rule, which is currently under a 60-day comment period, the EPA will eliminate the incentive for pesticide companies to conduct testing on humans, the NRDC says.

However, even if it is passed, the rule will not ban human testing altogether — nor will it ban animal testing, which is another issue entirely. But instead of merely proposing stricter regulations — which is a start — maybe we should be taking a harder look at the need for these toxic chemicals in the first place, and instead of wasting money on lawsuits, spend it on researching and developing safer alternatives.

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