Congress Bars EPA from accepting human pesticide data

Congress Bars EPA from accepting human pesticide data

Thu, 28 Jul 2005

Thank you Senator Barbara Boxer and Representative Hilda Solis for leading the charge to stop the Environmental Protection Agency in its tracks.

The EPA was formulating rules that would have oveturened the Nuremberg Code prohibition against using poisonous substances in experiments involving human beings.

The Washington Post reports that: “A draft of the rules envisions permitting the agency to accept data from human tests on children, pregnant women, newborns, infants and fetuses. Even newborns of “uncertain viability” could be tested under the draft EPA rule.”

It is particularly distrubing that the EPA–and its new chief– has come under the influence of the worst environmental polluters who are pressuring the agency to test their poisonous products on humans in order to lift restrictions on the amount of pesticides that may be used.

America CropLife is the industry’s trade association that has been lobbying the EPA. Foremost among pesticide companies is Bayer CropScience –an offshoot of Bayer AG, the multi-national German pharmaceutical giant that in 1998 conducted pesticide experiments in Scotland.

During the Nazi regime, Bayer (then under corporate name IG Farben) was intimately involved in the medical experimental atrocities conducted on concentration camp inmates.

The Nazis classified their experimental atrocities:  “medical and scientific experiments in the service of science.” [See [Lifton RJ: the Nazi doctors: medical killing and the psychology of genocide, Basic Books, 1986.]

The culture of unmitigated evil that left its indelible stain on the history of humankind at Aushcwitz is once again pushing its weight down that slippery slope– they must be stopped before they pull down what’s left of our civilization.

Stephen Johnson is unfit to head the EPA–he has continued to promote the infamous CHEERS experiment that had been planned for Duval County, Florida–its target subjects were to be toddlers.

Bayer’s record of corporate crimes are cataloged by: Corporate Watch at:: http://archive.corporatewatch.org/profiles/bayer/bayer1.html and Coalition against BAYER-Dangers (CBG). A watchdog organization that publishes information about global abuses by Bayer AG, including human rights and environmental violations. http://www.cbgnetwork.org/home/Newsletter_KCB/newsletter_kcb.html

See also, AHRP testimony (January 2003) before the Institute of Medicine committee that gave its seal of approval for human pesticiee experiments: http://www.ahrp.org/testimonypresentations/EPApesticide.php

Contact: Vera Hassner Sharav
212-595-8974

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/28/AR2005072801037.html

Congress Rebukes EPA on Pesticide Testing
By ANDREW TAYLOR
The Associated Press
Thursday, July 28, 2005; 1:59 PM

WASHINGTON — In a rebuke to the Environmental Protection Agency, Congress is blocking the agency from relying on tests that expose pregnant women, infants and children to pesticides.

Both environmentalists and the pesticide industry claimed victory on the measure, a compromise from versions passed last month by the House and Senate that would have banned EPA use of all data from human pesticide testing for a year.

The language is attached to a final House-Senate compromise bill funding the budgets for the Interior Department and the EPA for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1. The House was expected to pass the spending measure Thursday afternoon and the Senate was to clear it before leaving Washington late this week for its August recess. The measure also contains $1.5 billion in emergency funds for veterans’ health benefits.

The pesticide controversy arose after the EPA in 2003 lifted a moratorium on testing that had been in place since 1998. The agency has accepted on a case-by-case basis data from tests on human subjects as it works on new regulations for the tests.

A draft of the rules envisions permitting the agency to accept data from human tests on children, pregnant women, newborns, infants and fetuses. Even newborns of “uncertain viability” could be tested under the draft EPA rule.

When those draft rules leaked, California Democrats Rep. Hilda Solis and Sen. Barbara Boxer _ over extensive protests from the pesticide industry _ succeeded in attaching a one-year moratorium on testing to the Interior and EPA funding measure.

The final language bans the EPA from using results from human testing until it issues the new rules, which would come after a 90-day period for public comment and not later than six months after Bush signs the bill.

In addition to the ban on using data from pregnant women, infants and children, the EPA is instructed to establish an independent board to review testing on human subjects and follow the guidelines of the National Academy of Sciences and international standards adopted in the wake of the war crimes trials of Nazi doctors.

The early EPA draft rule rejected suggestions that an independent review board serve as a watchdog on human testing.

“I can’t think of any recent examples where before EPA even puts out a rule, because something leaks out that’s so bad that Congress adopts a statute that tells them what they can put in the rule,” said Erik Olsen, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council

The testing provision is a rare victory for liberal Democrats in the GOP-dominated Congress. Boxer and Solis had the backing of a coalition of religious groups that lobbied hard on the issue.

Still, the top trade association representing the pesticide industry welcomed the developments.

“We’re relieved, clearly see it as an opportunity to move forward, resolve the issue by way of EPA being directed to issue the final rule and clearly see it as recognition by Congress that (human testing) is an important tool of science,” said Jay Vroom, president and CEO of CropLife America, the pesticide industry’s trade association.

Boxer and Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., had held up the confirmation of EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson until he promised to cancel a pesticide study on infants in Florida. Over the study’s two years, EPA had planned to give $970 plus a camcorder and children’s clothes to each of the families of 60 children in Duval County, Fla., in what critics of the study noted was a low-income, minority neighborhood.

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On the Net:

Environmental Protection Agency: http://www.epa.gov

CropLife America: http://www.croplifeamerica.org

Congress Curbs EPA Use of Pesticide-Experiment Data

By Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 28, 2005; Page A07

Lawmakers agreed late Tuesday to bar the Environmental Protection Agency from using data from experiments that expose human subjects to toxic chemicals until the agency establishes a new standard for evaluating pesticides based on such tests.

Environmentalists and industry officials both declared victory yesterday, saying the provision added to next year’s Interior Department spending bill would encourage the Bush administration to devise a better policy for handling information culled from human testing.

The House and Senate earlier adopted language imposing a one-year moratorium on the use of human testing data, though the Senate also passed language allowing EPA to use the data as long as the studies met certain ethical standards and their benefits outweigh the risks to volunteers.

As a compromise, negotiators agreed to bar the agency from using the data until it establishes a comprehensive scientific and ethical standard for human pesticide testing. The provision directs EPA to finish the rule within 180 days and prohibits the use of pregnant women, infants or children as subjects. The agency will have to establish an independent scientific board to review the experiments, and the tests will have to conform with international standards.

Rep. Hilda L. Solis (D-Calif.), who had pushed for a one-year ban, said in an interview that the agreement represents “a small victory for us” and that “we’ll certainly be watching to see what the EPA does.” As for testing on pregnant women and infants, she added: “The moral of the story is that it’s not acceptable.”

Pesticide manufacturers said the provision would allow them to collect data they need when submitting federal applications to market their products.

“CropLife America believes the final agreement in the bill is a clear rejection of outright bans on using pesticide data from volunteer subjects,” said Jay Vroom, president of the pesticide trade association. “Our industry is ethically bound to provide regulators the information they need to determine that our products are safe and beneficial.”

For years, federal officials allowed manufacturers to conduct human experiments on the grounds they provided a clearer assessment of how pesticides could affect the environment and public health. Concerned that these tests were harming volunteers, President Bill Clinton imposed a moratorium in 1998, but President Bush lifted it in his first term. EPA officials now judge human pesticide studies on a case-by-case basis.

Last month, congressional Democrats released a report showing EPA was using data from tests that exposed volunteers to several poisons, including an insecticide used for chemical warfare in World War I and a pesticide closely related to the chemical that killed thousands in Bhopal, India.

Administration officials have resisted the idea of a one-year moratorium but said they could accept the new testing provision.

“This language makes it clear that Congress shares our commitment to good science and supports our efforts to expedite the first-ever EPA rule addressing the scientific and ethical issues in considering third-party human studies,” agency spokeswoman Eryn Witcher said.

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