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Why Almost Safe is Not Good Enough

Is the government protecting you from pesticides??
excerpts from Chapter 14 of
"The Best Control"
by Stephen Tvedten

Most people seriously overestimate the amount of "protection" given them by governments regarding pesticide "safety". Congress found that 90% of the pesticides on the market lack even the minimal required safety screening. Of the 34 most used lawn pesticides, 33 have not been fully tested for human health hazards. If any tests are done, they are performed by the chemical manufacturers, not the EPA. "If a chemical company wanted to, they could start with a desired conclusion, and skew the data, and the EPA would never know", notes David Welch, and entomologist with the EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs. Welch did a random sampling of 15 pesticide files and found 13 without proper reviews. One third of the most commonly used lawn pesticides were illegally registered for use.

Despite the fact executives of Industrial Bio-Test labs were given jail terms for faking pesticides tests, the chemicals are still on the market. Shortages in funding, personnel, and interference from business has slowed re-evaluation of these chemicals. Even when the EPA does refuse a pesticide registration, the manufacturer often files a lawsuit, which keeps their poison on the market. Jay Feldman, coordinator of the National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides, is well aware of this. "The EPA should by called the IPA- the Industry Protection Agency", he charges. The chemical industry is extremely powerful, and wraps the EPA in red tape. It is also essential to understand that by law synthetic pesticide poison registration in the U.S.A. is not a consumer safety program. According to Congress, the EPA does not require testing and assessment guidelines specifically for lawn or home use. EPA has admitted in court that pesticide registration does not ensure product safety. Rather, it is a balancing act of costs and risks. Most lawn pesticides were registered before 1972, when more stringent restrictions took effect under the revised Federal Rodenticide and Fungicide Act. They were never tested for many human health hazards like carcinogenicity, neurotoxicity, and environmental dangers. Most, as previously stated, have yet to be re-evaluated, yet remain on the market . . . to poison you and yours.

Read the labels on many lawn pesticide products, sprayed by lawn companies or sold in stores, and you will find one or more of the following: 2,4-D, Captan, Diazinon, Dursban, Dacthal, Dicamba, and Mecocrop. Each was registered without full safety screening. 2,4-D is an artificial hormone that has become a synonym for "dangerous pesticide", but dermal absorption of mecocrop is far more dangerous, and dicamba is much more persistent in the environment - a mixture of these three is usually used, not 2,4-D alone. Diazinon has been banned for use on golf courses and sod farms due to massive waterfowl deaths but is still widely and routinely used on home lawns and gardens. It is an organophosphate which disables the nervous system by blocking enzymes essential for nerve impulse transmission.

In April, 1983, the public learned that Dow Chemical officials had scientific information on dioxin (a substance found in herbicides such as 2,4,5-T and the Viet Nam defoliant Agent Orange as early as 1965 that raised questions about its safety to humans but withheld this information from the federal government for more than fifteen years.