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Medical News and Perspectives
February 5, 2003

EPA Ponders Pesticide Toxicity Testing

JAMA. 2003;289(5):535-536. doi:10.1001/jama.289.5.535

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is reconsidering a five-year-old self-imposed moratorium on using human toxicity studies as part of the agency's process of regulating pesticide safety levels and has asked the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to review the issue and make recommendations as to how the EPA should proceed.

Pesticide manufacturers say that testing for toxicity using human subjects can be done safely and that it provides a more accurate assessment of tolerance levels and chemical effects on people. But public health advocacy groups oppose such tests, saying they offer no promise of benefit to the research subject, other than for a monetary payment, sometimes reaching $1000. They also argue the tests produce little scientific evidence and safety value because such studies use small sample sizes of healthy adults and omit children and other populations that are more sensitive to chemical effects .

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