Passes Boxer Bill to Ban Human Pesticide Testing
(Beyond Pesticides, July 1, 2005) An amendment to the Interior Appropriations bill introduced by Senator Barbara Boxer (CA-D) establishing a one-year moratorium on intentional pesticide dosing in humans passed the Senate floor Wednesday with a 60-37 vote. A similar House amendment passed on May 19.
The amendment prohibits EPA from using funds "to accept, consider, or rely on third-party intentional dosing human studies for pesticides or to conduct intentional dosing human studies for pesticides." A dozen senators joined as cosponsors to the Boxer amendment after it was proposed - undoubtedly influenced by the influx of calls, emails, and faxes from the public supporting a ban on human testing.
However, another amendment introduced by Senator Conrad Burns (MT-R) also passed the Senate Wednesday. That amendment directly contradicted Senator Boxer's amendment by calling on EPA to "conduct a review of all third party intentional human dosing studies to identify or quantify toxic effects."
The two amendments will go to committee to work out the contradictions. Environmentalists and other supporters of the Boxer amendment will be watching closely to see if the final amendment, due to go back to the Senate for a vote, continues to ban human pesticide testing. Neither amendment proposes the manufacturer first show efficacy or necessity data on the product to be tested - a fundamental component of basic ethical guidelines of human testing data.
A recent congressional review of 22 human studies submitted to the EPA showed that each of the experiments violated ethical standards by deliberately exposing subjects to dangerous pesticides, many of which are suspected carcinogens and neurotoxicants. Additionally, the report found the studies also failed to obtain informed consent, used unethical liability waivers, lacked scientific validity, dismissed adverse outcomes, and failed to conduct long-term medical monitoring (see Daily News). Alan Lockwood, of Physicians for Social Responsibility, conducted a similar review (see Daily News).
A moratorium for human pesticide experiments was previously issued in 1998 under the Clinton Administration. Christine Todd Whitman, the first EPA Administrator under Bush's Administration, made efforts to maintain the moratorium without the Administration's support. The pesticide industry sued and a 2003 court ruling sided with industry reversing the moratorium pending the adoption of binding rules on human testing by EPA.
Since the Clinton-era moratorium was lifted, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) made several recommendations addressing human testing (see Daily News). The rules EPA is currently proposing disregard NAS recommendations, and do not meet international norms for human studies, such as the Nuremberg Code or the Helsinki Declaration. These rules would allow testing on vulnerable populations such as infants, children, pregnant women, and prisoners.
You can find out how your senators voted on Senator Boxer's amendment by visiting http://www.senate.gov. Beyond Pesticides will follow developments related to human pesticide testing and will keep you posted on this amendment.