USEPA's ethical faux pas

Published: Friday 31 December 2004

Industry tests using human beings would now be accepted by the us Environmental Protection Agency (epa) in fixing standards for chemicals in food and water. The agency is about to finish formulating a plan to take a "case-by-case approach" in this matter.

"It says we're going to look at each study on its individual terms and accept studies unless they are fundamentally unethical or have significant deficiencies," said Bill Jordan, a senior policy adviser in epa's Office of Pesticide Programs, about the plan. "We're setting the stage for making decisions about these studies. No guarantees that we will accept the data, and no guarantees that we will reject the data, either." The epa is likely to issue a final notice in January 2005 and a new rule on human testing might be issued by 2006, he said.

The pesticide industry claims that human tests provide more accurate results regarding the effects of pesticides on people and the environment. They also follow the guidelines set by the us Congress, the epa, the courts and scientific groups, they add. The new policy might first be applied to pesticides like aldicarb, carbofuran, ddvp and malathion, according to Jordan.

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