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From June 21, 2005

Congressional Report Finds Human Pesticide Experiments Unethical
(Beyond Pesticides, June 21, 2005)
Over twenty human pesticide experiments have been found to be unethical, as well as unscientific, in a recently released congressional report from the House of Representative's Committee on Government Reform. The experiments violated ethical standards by deliberately exposing subjects to dangerous pesticides, many of which are suspected carcinogens and neurotoxicants.

Azinphos-methyl, carbofuran, chloropicrin, and dimethoate, as well as several other organophosphates, are examples of the pesticides that were used in the experiments. Methyl isothiocyanate, which is closely related to the chemical that killed thousands in Bhopal, India, was also tested.

The report found the studies also failed to obtain informed consent, used unethical liability waivers, lacked scientific validity, dismissed adverse outcomes, and failed to conduct long-term medical monitoring.

The report evaluates 22 of 24 studies submitted to EPA for review in the regulation process. The experiments were primarily conducted by pesticide manufactures.

Committee member Henry A. Waxman released a statement describing the tests, "These pesticides are intentionally designed to be toxic . . . Yet in the experiments, test subjects swallowed insecticide tablets, sat in chambers with pesticide vapors, had pesticides applied to their skin, had pesticides shot into their eyes and noses, and were even exposed in their homes for six months at a time.

Representative Waxman stated, "What we've found is that the human pesticide experiments that the Bush Administration intends to use to set federal pesticide policies are rife with ethical and scientific defects."

A moratorium for human pesticide experiments was issued in 1998. Christine Todd Whitman, the first EPA Administrator under Bush's Administration, made efforts to maintain the moratorium without the Administration's support. The pesticide industry sued. A 2003 court ruling sided with industry reversing the moratorium pending the adoption of binding rules on human testing by EPA. See daily news for more about human testing.

TAKE ACTION: Join Beyond Pesticides in opposition against human testing for pesticides. Contact EPA administrator Stephen Johnson to urge EPA to reject pesticide testing on humans.