URGENT: Get Rid of Food Carcinogens!
August 27, 1993
On August 19th, the Clinton administration announced that it
intends to repeal the strongest federal anti-cancer law on the
books, the Delaney clause of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic
Act. The Delaney clause says that cancer-causing pesticides that
concentrate in processed foods must be removed from food
production. The New York Times reports the proposed elimination
"will please pesticide manufacturers, who have long chafed under
the absolutist restrictions of the Delaney clause."
Under the administration's proposal, the Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) would replace the Delaney clause with a "negligible
risk" standard that allows "acceptable" amounts of chemical
carcinogens in foods, based on controversial and highly
inaccurate risk assessment models. Incredibly, the "negligible
risk" standard allows for an "acceptable" number of people to get
cancer, instead of requiring that cancer- causing and other
hazardous pesticides be replaced with alternatives that do not
threaten our health or the environment.
EPA officially adopted "negligible risk" in 1988. In July 1992,
a U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that "negligible risk" is an
illegal standard under the Delaney clause. When the Supreme
Court denied a petition to review the case early this year,
tremendous pressure was brought to bear on the White House and
Congress to do what the pesticide, food processing, grocery and
agribusiness industries could not do in the courts Q weaken U.S.
food safety standards and keep dangerous pesticides on the
EPA officials say the administration's goal is to move toward a
health based standard, and has announced a commitment to reduce
pesticide use. But although it contains other pieces
representing important improvements over current pesticide laws,
the administration's August 19th package guts a public
health-protecting standard in favor of "negligible risk,"
establishes no phase out schedule for high hazard pesticides, and
sets no targets for pesticide use reduction.
White House officials are now "shopping around" their plan, and
testing reactions from lawmakers, industry, agribusiness and the
public before proposing actual legislation, which could come as
early as mid-September. They need to hear from you NOW!
What You Can Do
Calls and letters to the White House and EPA are urgently needed.
Tell President Clinton that to protect public health and the
environment, a new pesticide policy must:
-- Enforce, not repeal, the Delaney clause and prevent cancer by
getting rid of cancer-causing pesticides in food.
-- Phase out hazardous pesticides, including those that cause
cancer, birth defects, cell mutations, immune-system disorders,
nerve damage or other chronic diseases; that are extremely
acutely toxic; or that present serious environmental hazards.
-- Phase in least-toxic alternatives and reduce pesticide
dependency by supporting sustainable approaches to agriculture,
and pest management systems that minimize the use of chemicals.
-- Reduce pesticide use by setting quantitative national
reduction goals and timelines; requiring pesticide use reporting
and record keeping, and establishing a cross-agency office to
oversee planning and frequent review of use reduction policies.
-- Break the Circle of Poison by banning the export of banned,
withdrawn, and never-registered pesticides from the U.S.
-- Require that government lead by example by meeting pesticide
use reduction goals in public agency practices, contracting and
Call or Write Now:
President Bill Clinton,
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500
Tel (202) 456-1414
Administrator Carol Browner,
Environmental Protection Agency
Washington, D.C. 20460
Tel (202) 260-4700
Send copies of your letters to your Senators and
Representatives, and to PAN.
For more information, call
Pesticide Action Network (415) 541-9140
Agianst the Misuse of Pesticides (202) 543-5450
World Wildlife Fund (202) 778-9667
Natural Resources Defence Council (202) 824-9394
Sierra Club (602) 432-5374
Environmental Working Group (202) 667-6982
The Pesticide Action Network Updates Service (PANUPS) is a
pesticide-related news service posted weekly by the Pesticide
Action Network North America Regional Center (PANNA RC). PANNA
RC is located at 116 New Montgomery Street, #810, San Francisco,
CA 94105. Tel: (415) 541-9140. Fax: (415) 541- 9253. To receive a
standard information packet about the Pesticide Action Network
send a short e-mail message to email@example.com.