HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Saturday, April 9, 2005

EPA Pesticide Testing

Now perhaps there has been a misrepresentation concerning the details of this study,because it sounds terrible.  The EPA study's purpose was to examine the effects of pesticides on children.  According to the LATimes,

A controversial program to pay parents to document the effects of pesticide exposure on their children was canceled Friday by the acting head of the Environmental Protection Agency (Stephen L. Johnson) , whose confirmation to the post had been jeopardized by the study. . . .

The program, which had been suspended by EPA officials late last year, would have paid low-income families in Florida $970 if they agreed to record evidence — including videotaping — on how pesticides used in their homes affected their children. . . .

The EPA started accepting applications for the program last year and said the study would not pose additional risks because it would only accept families already using pesticides.

But the agency suspended the study in November after outcries from various groups, including the Alliance for Human Research Protection in New York. The project came under more criticism when it was disclosed that the American Chemistry Council had paid $2 million toward the $9-million study.

I used to teach summer school to fairly young children and once had a child come to class who had been sprayed with Raid by his mother because he had lice.  So, while I do realize that we need to know more about these pesticides, and we need to educate families about their potential harms,  this now-canceled study does not appear convincing as a means to achieve these goals.  On an academic note (I hope this does not sound too crass), the canceled study may provide a helpful example in a course discussing the protection of human subjects.  [bm]

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