EPA to Strengthen Oversight of Pesticide Impact on Children and Farmworkers

WASHINGTON –The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to strengthen its assessment of pesticide health risks. EPA’s proposal would include a more thorough assessment of risks to workers, including farmworkers and farm children, as well as risks posed by pesticides that are not used on food. The agency is asking the public to comment on the new approach and how best to implement the improvements.

EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson has made it a top priority to ensure that the agency is working to protect Americans. She said: “Better information and applying these tools will strengthen EPA’s protections for farm workers exposed to these chemicals, and children living in and around the areas of highest possible exposure,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “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.

EPA believes that pesticide exposure should be evaluated with common scientific riskassessment techniques, whether from residues in food or drinking water, on lawns or in swimming pools, or in the workplace. The agency would routinely apply the techniques to workers exposed to pesticide exposures on the job. By incorporating these riskassessment tools into its pesticide evaluations, the agency would more thoroughly protect the most vulnerable populations, including farm workers and children taken into agricultural fields.

The proposed policy will be available for a 60-day public comment period after it is published in the Federal Register.

More information on the proposed policy: http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/health/workerrsk-

Dale Kemery