Daily News Archive
From July 29, 2002

EPA's review of 28 Organophosphate pesticides called into question

An independent scientific panel questioned EPA's use of three-fold safety rating when reviewing the combined effects of organophosphate pesticides. The panel concluded that the three-fold safety rating assigned to the pesticides is not protective of infants and children and that there was not enough data to reduce the baseline ten-fold margin of safety. 30 pesticides were included in the OP risk assessment. Only six looked at studies regarding the effects on the developing nervous system of animals.

"This was so sloppy even the scientific advisory panel couldn't stomach it," Jennifer Sass, a senior scientist with NRDC, said Wednesday. "These scientists have basically chucked this back at the EPA and said, 'Not good enough. Do it again.' This is not an adequate margin of safety and this will not protect children."

"We're going to look very carefully at the panel's recommendations and new data," EPA spokesman Dave Deegan said. "One of the key factors is we're actually expecting quite a few significant studies that directly relate to this issue to be submitted in the very near future."

The review stems from a settlement in a 1999 case brought by NRDC, environmentalists and farm workers, who challenged a missed deadline for reviewing the most dangerous pesticides, including those used in foods most eaten by children.