Policy & Politics
EPA Seeks More Thorough Assessment of Pesticide Risks
A proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would include a more thorough assessment of pesticide health risks to workers, including farmworkers and farm children, as well as risks posed by pesticides that are not used on food. The proposed policy will be available for a 60-day public comment period after it is published in the Federal Register. AFBF plans to submit comments. “Better information and applying these tools will strengthen EPA’s protections for farmworkers exposed to these chemicals, and children living in and around the areas of highest possible exposure,” said Lisa Jackson, EPA administrator. “It’s essential we have the tools to keep everyone, especially vulnerable populations like children, safe from the serious health consequences of pesticide exposure.”Under the policy, EPA risk assessments for children, farmworkers and others would consider aggregate pesticide exposures from all sources in addition to the cumulative effects from multiple pesticides that have similar toxicity. EPA also would apply an additional safety factor to protect infants and children from the risks of pesticides where the available data are incomplete. Currently these analyses help assess risks of pesticides to the general public as required by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.