Thursday, March 28, 2013

Group says EPA used regulatory loophole to approve 2/3 of pesticides dangerous to humans

The Natural Resources Defense Council released results Wednesday from a two-year study that found that the "Environmental Protection Agency used a regulatory loophole to approve 65 percent of 16,000 pesticides that pose a potential threat to public health," Wendy Koch reports for USA Today.

Mae Wu, who co-authored the study, said: "People should be concerned, because we have examples of at least two pesticides on the market that shouldn't have been approved," Koch writes. One of the pesticides is nanosilver, "which was approved as an anti-microbial agent in clothing but may damage brain and liver cells, and clothianidin, which was designed to be absorbed into plant tissue but is passed on fatally to bees and other pollinators. The study says the EPA's database makes it unclear how many of the pesticides received adequate, if any, testing."

The loophole is called "conditional registration, which means they haven't been fully tested to ensure that they pose no threat to human health or the environment, as required by U.S. law," Laura Fraser reports for On Earth magazine. "The fast-track conditional registration process was intended to be used only under rare circumstances, when a product is nearly identical to one already on the market or when the EPA needs to approve a new pesticide immediately to prevent a disease outbreak or other public health emergency."

"The EPA has no system to track whether the data and studies it asked a company to provide for full registration have ever appeared," Fraser writes. "And if the data were provided, there’s no way to evaluate how many of those studies were reliably conducted. Nor is there any way for the public to access any of the records on these pesticides."

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