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EPA and NRDC Disagree On Success of Pesticide Review Process
(from August 12, 2002)

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a "successful completion" of the second phase of its pesticide safety reevaluation process on Friday, August 3rd. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) does not believe that the process is a success, claiming some of the most toxic chemicals have yet to be reassessed.

Reassessment started in 1996 with the passage of the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA). Congress mandated EPA to reevaluate the existing standards for allowable amounts of pesticide residues on food. Two thirds of the reassessments were to be completed by August 3, 2002. In 1999, NRDC sued EPA for not meeting deadlines to assess some of the most dangerous pesticides. The resulting settlement in January 2001 set timetables for EPA to review cumulative effects of several classes of chemicals including carbamates and triazines. In addition, reviews of all 39 organophosphates were to be completed by August 2002.

NRDC is again speaking out, claiming that EPA has spent valuable time reviewing chemicals that are already off the market, or chemicals that are rarely used. By doing this, reviews of higher priority pesticides are stalled, benefiting chemical companies. EPA emphatically denies these claims. In a response to NRDC's statement regarding the reassessment schedule EPA stated, "To date, EPA has successfully met all the deadlines for expeditious review of the priority pesticides in that agreement, and the Agency is on track to meet the remaining deadlines for the additional pesticides."