E-mail this article to
yourself or a friend.
Enter address:


EPA sued over children's exposure to pesticides

(Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- Gail Appleson, Reuters, 09/15/03 via Agnet: NEW YORK - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was, according to this story, sued by four states and a coalition of conservation, public health and farmworker groups on Monday for failing to protect children from unsafe levels of pesticide residue found in food.

The story says that the plaintiffs, who filed two separate cases in Manhattan federal court, seek court orders forcing the EPA to comply with a 1996 law requiring that the agency set pesticide residue standards 10 times stricter than those considered acceptable for adults.

One of the suits was brought by the attorneys general of New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Jersey. The other case was brought by an 11-member group that includes the Natural Resources Defense Council, Pesticide Action Network North America, the Breast Cancer Fund, and the Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Both cases focus on a group of high-risk pesticides used on fruits, vegetables and nuts commonly eaten by children.

The NRDC suit was quoted as saying, "Some of these pesticides are so toxic that a teaspoon can cause acute poisoning in people, resulting in seizures and coma. One is so potent that the EPA says to protect against acute toxicity, a toddler should not be exposed to an amount weighing less than a single grain of salt per day. Lower doses over time may cause neurological damage, learning disabilities, behavioral problems, and cancer."

Despite this, the EPA has waived the required tenfold safety factor for the pesticides, the NRDC was cited as charging.

EPA spokesman Dave Deegan was cited as saying he could not comment specifically on suits until the lawyers had reviewed the papers, but added, "The EPA has not deviated from our ongoing efforts to completely implement the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996."