Senate Approves Measure To Ban EPA Human Pesticide Studies
The Senate on Wednesday voted 60-37 to approve an amendment to the fiscal year 2006 Environmental Protection Agency and Interior Department appropriations bill (HR 2361) that would ban EPA from considering studies that intentionally expose humans to pesticides, the AP/Las Vegas Sun reports (Taylor, AP/Las Vegas Sun, 6/29).
Former President Bill Clinton banned the federal government's use of data from tests on U.S. residents to set nationwide limits for pesticide exposure. However, President Bush reversed the decision when he took office. Following public protest, the Bush administration placed a hold on the policy so the National Academy of Sciences could conduct a review. In 2004, NAS issued a report detailing scientific protocols for conducting such studies, and the Bush administration now allows them on a case-by-case basis (California Healthline, 5/24).
Under new EPA rules currently under development, the agency would be allowed to accept data from human tests on children, pregnant women, newborns, infants and fetuses. The amendment sponsored by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) that was approved Wednesday would block EPA from using data taken from human testing for the budget year starting Oct. 1. It also would prohibit the agency from conducting such testing. The House last month approved an identical measure when considering appropriations for EPA and the Interior Department.
Meanwhile, Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.), who opposes Boxer's provision and is lead Senate negotiator on the appropriations bill, introduced a separate amendment instructing EPA to study whether the benefits of human testing that is conducted ethically outweigh the risks to volunteers. Burns' amendment was adopted 57-40, and he is "well-positioned" to defeat Boxer's amendment in House-Senate negotiations, according to the AP/Sun (AP/Las Vegas Sun, 6/29).