A Mixed Bag
In a study of the cumulative health risks of pesticides, the U.S. has found that only two of the 30 pesticides it studied pose an unacceptable threat to human health when combined. The study was conducted in response to a lawsuit by the Natural Resources Defense Council, and its findings were announced yesterday evening, just hours after a federal appeals court rejected the third attempt by the pesticide industry to block release of the information. EPA Assistant Administrator Stephen Johnson said that overall, the review gave him confidence in the safety of the nation’s food supply. The NRDC criticized the review, saying the EPA failed to study non-food-based exposures, such as airborne drifts from spraying and the frequent contact that some 1 million farm children have with the chemicals. The two pesticides that remain in question — dichlorvos, or DDVP, which is used for home pest control, and dimethoate, which is sprayed on fruits and vegetables — could cause headaches, nausea, weakness, and possibly death.