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E-M:/ Report finds little progress on pesticide reduction

Enviro-Mich message from ecaa@igc.org (ecology center)

Mary Beth Doyle, Ecology Center of Ann Arbor: (734) 663-2400
Ken Cook or Kert Davies, Environmental Working Group: (202) 667-6982

Same As It Ever Was:
Clinton Administration's Promise to Protect Kids form Pesticides Proves Empty

Ann Arbor -- Five years after the Clinton Administration promised a bold
initiative to make children's health a top priority in federal pesticide
regulation, the government has done little to reduce toxic pesticide use,
pesticide residues in food, or pesticide contamination in drinking water,
according to a new report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

In June 1993, the Administration reaped praise when it announced a dramatic
shift in policy aimed at reducing pesticide use, stating  "We are committed
to the goals of reducing risks associated with pesticides for all American
and especially of ensuring appropriate protection of children." Instead,
almost nothing has been done.  By nearly every measure, children and the
rest of the population are no better off today than they were five years

"Our children need protection from pesticides, not  empty promises," said
Mary Beth Doyle, MPH, Environmental Health Coordinator for the Ecology
Center.  "Pesticide residues in many of the foods most commonly eaten by
children have actually increased since 1993."

Children are especially at risk, because they eat and drink more per pound
of body weight than do adults. And because their bodies are still
developing, they are more sensitive than adults to pesticides which are
hormone disrupters or developmental poisons.

EWG, a non-profit research organization that has conducted numerous studies
of pesticide use and safety, said its analysis of federal agency data,
programs and regulations found:

* Pesticide use has increased steadily since 1993, and could reach record
levels by 2000, yet the government still has no plan for use reduction.
The Administration has removed only one pesticide from the market, and has
allowed a record number of new pesticides onto the market.

* The Administration's aggressive promotion of sustainable agriculture
amounts to 0.7 percent of the USDA research budget, or 13.3. million for
sustainable agriculture research and technical assistance out of the USDA's
$1.9 billion research and extension budget.

* The Administration took five years to propose rules to define organic
food, which the public then roundly rejected.  Under the Clinton USDA
proposal, organic food would have included foods that were genetically
modified, grown with toxic sewage sludge, and irradiated before sale.

"The Administration's program has amounted to little more than public
relations instead of public health protection," said Dave Dempsey, Policy
Director for Michigan Environmental Council. "We need a commitment to push
vigorously for reductions in dangerous pesticides that threaten food safety
and children's health."

The report says that despite the passage of the 1996 Food Quality
Protection Act, which gave the Administration powerful new tools to reduce
pesticide exposure, there is no compelling evidence that the government
intends to keep its promise.

Same As It Ever Was is available online at www.ewg.org.

Mary Beth Doyle, MPH
Environmental Health Project
Ecology Center of Ann Arbor
117 N. Division
Ann Arbor MI 48104

734-663-2400 ext 108
734-663-2414 (fax)

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