"Overexposed" draws on over 80,000 samples of residues done by USDA,
FDA and private testers, and employs the recommended cumulative exposure,
Monte Carlo techniques outlined in the 1993 NAS report on pesticides and
kids. The EPA is likely to build upon the EWG methodology in completing its
own cumulative OP/carbamate exposure and risks assessments required to
implement the new Food Quality Protection Act standard <see the section on
the FQPA on PMAC at <http://www.pmac.net/fqpa.htm>. The EWG methodology is
based on the most realistic assumptions possible re actual exposure levels,
and advances by a major step the accuracy and data-richness of real-world
exposure and risk assessments.
The findings are sobbering, and show clearly why the new safety
standard in the Food Quality Protection Act was needed, and why it will make
an enormous difference if EPA moves forward with implementation as called
for in the new law.
Those commited under all circumstances to defend pesticides in the
face of any evidence, will no doubt invoke the "sound science" mantra,
coupled with the "sky will fall" refrain. But anyone reading the report and
paying attention to its methodological sophistication will see clearly where
sound science starts and stops in the assessment of OP risk to infants and
My colleagues at Consumers Union and I will have more to say in the
next few months on the many safer, proven biointensive IPM options to deal
with the insects now leading to heavy and high-risk use of OP and carbamate
Because of public interest in where the high risk OPs and carbamates
are used on the crops contributing most heavily to risks to children, we
drew upon 1995 USDA/National Ag Statistics Survey data on fruit crops to
produce a series of tables on pears, peaches, apples and grapes. The tables
show national totals and state by state use of pesticides, with OP and carb
insecticides broken out. Those interested in better understanding the
likely pesticide-based alternatives at the state level should review the
tables on the PMAC web site; go to "What's Hot"
<http://www.pmac.net/hot.htm> and follow the links. In the coming months,
we will be posting many more such tables covering additional crops.
Reporters -- if you are interested in use data on a specific
crop/state, e-mail Chuck Benbrook or call 208-263-5236. Also, we have
available in electronic format, slides and hard copies several high quality
photos, graphics on the FQPA, pesticide use and risks, which we will provide
on an "as requested" basis.
Last, I have posted a narrative version of the talk I am giving
Saturday morning at the University of Guelph on the potential role/impacts
of genetic engineering on organic and conventional food production and
processing. Access the text (about 20 pages), via "What's Hot" at
<http://www.pmac.net/hot.htm>. Again, for reporters doing stories, we have
developed an 80 slide presentation for this talk, and have extensive other
graphics and photos relevant to organic farming systems and related issues.
If you need access to high quality photos and graphics, e-mail or call and
let us know your needs.
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