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E-M:/ Atty Generals' Pesticides News Release



Title: Atty Generals' Pesticides News Release
This is a press release issued today outlining activities by four Attorneys General to protect children from pesticide exposure.  Where is Michigan's Attorney General on this issue?



"Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly said: "Protecting our
children is first and foremost - we must do everything we can to keep
dangerous chemicals out of the food they eat. This petition provides EPA
with an important opportunity to undo a wrong and protect the health and
well being of our most valuable asset, our children.""

"Today's action by the Attorneys General asserts that the EPA has
failed to comply with its Congressional mandate by not applying  the
stricter pesticide residue standards that accommodate the heightened
sensitivity of children. The petition challenges regulatory decisions
made by EPA on five pesticides that are widely used on food consumed by
children. The pesticides that are the subject of this petition are:
alachlor, chlorothalonil, methomyl, metribuzin and thiodicarb."

 

 

NEWS RELEASE

 

New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer

California Attorney General Bill Lockyer

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal

Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly

 

 

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For Immediate Release: December 17, 2004

 

Contact:

NY: Marc Violette, 518 473 5525

CA: Tom Dresslar, 916 324 5508

CT: Tara York, 860 808 5324

MA: Sarah Nathan, 617 727 2543

 

 STATES PETITION EPA TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM PESTICIDES

 

The Attorneys General of New York, California, Connecticut and

Massachusetts today filed a petition urging the federal Environmental

Protection Agency (EPA) to take stronger action to protect children from

the health risks of eating food with excessive pesticide residues.

 

New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said:  "I am disappointed

that the EPA has not been stronger in its policies to protect

children's health and I hope our action today will result in less

pesticide exposure for America's children."

 

California Attorney General Bill Lockyer said: "Government has no

greater duty than to safeguard the health and safety of its children.

It's time for the federal government to step up, do the right thing,

and honor that duty."

 

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said: "The EPA's

failure to protect children from poisonous pesticides is unconscionable

and unlawful.  It makes everyday foods potential poison traps.

Pesticides kill pests because they disrupt and destroy vital life

systems - and can have the same toxic effects on children if their

residues remain on food. I hope that the EPA will act swiftly on this

petition, as our children's health depends on it."

 

Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly said: "Protecting our

children is first and foremost - we must do everything we can to keep

dangerous chemicals out of the food they eat. This petition provides EPA

with an important opportunity to undo a wrong and protect the health and

well being of our most valuable asset, our children."

 

Dr. Philip Landrigan, Director of the Center for Children's Health

and the Environment at Mount Sinai School of Medicine said: "As a

pediatrician who chaired the National Academy of Sciences Committee on

Pesticides in the Diets of Infants and Children, I am distressed that

the EPA is not following our committee's clear recommendation to

presume that children are uniquely vulnerable to pesticides.  When no

studies of the developmental toxicity of a pesticide have been

undertaken, EPA should automatically incorporate a child-protective

safety factor into risk assessment.  Too often, EPA has failed to take

that critical step."

 

Jay Feldman, Executive Director of Beyond Pesticides said: "In

adopting amendments to federal pesticide law, Congress intended to

address a dramatic and documented deficiency in the protection of

children from toxic chemical exposure, and EPA has simply not met its

statutory duty.  I applaud the Attorneys General for pursuing this

critically important kids health issue."

 

Today's action by the Attorneys General asserts that the EPA has

failed to comply with its Congressional mandate by not applying  the

stricter pesticide residue standards that accommodate the heightened

sensitivity of children. The petition challenges regulatory decisions

made by EPA on five pesticides that are widely used on food consumed by

children. The pesticides that are the subject of this petition are:

alachlor, chlorothalonil, methomyl, metribuzin and thiodicarb.

           

 

 

 Examples of Food on Which the Pesticide is Used:

 Alachlor: corn, soybean, peanuts

 

Chlorothalonil bananas, broccoli, carrots, corn, peaches, peanuts,

 potatoes, soybeans, squash, tomatoes

 Methomyl: apples, beans, broccoli, corn, grapes, oats, oranges,

peaches, peanuts, pears, soybeans, tomatoes, wheat

 Metribuzin:   carrots, potatoes, soybeans, sugar cane, tomatoes,

wheat

 Thiodicarb: corn, soybeans

 

These same pesticides were the subject of a federal lawsuit filed by a

coalition of Attorneys General that was dismissed in July 2004 when a

federal judge ruled that the proper procedure to challenge EPA's

decisions on pesticide residue levels was through the EPA petition

process. Today, the coalition of Attorneys General is filing that

challenge.

 

In 1993 the National Academy of Sciences determined that infants and

children are more susceptible to harm from pesticide residue on food

because their bodies - - particularly their nervous systems - - are

still developing.

 

In 1996, Congress unanimously passed the Food Quality Protection Act

(FQPA) which directed EPA to set standards for pesticide residues on

food that take into account children's special sensitivity to

pesticides.  Previously, EPA determined how much pesticide residue was

allowed to remain on food based solely on the health risks posed to

adults.  The FQPA directed the EPA to set pesticide residue standards

ten times more stringent  than those considered acceptable for adults.

This tougher standard can be waived only when there are reliable data

demonstrating that a less stringent standard is still safe for

children.

 

The petition is being handled by New York Assistant Attorney General

Karen Kaufmann, Assistant Attorney General David Munro and Chief

Scientist Judith Schreiber; California Deputy Attorney General Claudia

Polsky; Connecticut Assistant Attorney General Matthew Levine; and

Massachusetts Assistant Attorney General Andrew Goldberg.