Controversial EPA pesticide study put on hold

A proposed study of pesticide exposure in children to be run by the U.S. EPA has been suspended in response to growing controversy inside and outside the agency. In exchange for participating in the study — i.e., allowing their children to be exposed to pesticides — families in Duval County, Fla., would have received $970 each, plus a camcorder and some clothing. “Since the study was announced last month, many have raised concerns, including scientists within EPA. We want to be responsive to those concerns,” said EPA spokesperson Cynthia Bergman. The agency will convene a panel of independent experts to assess the study, though it’s already been approved by several such panels. Says Jeff Ruch of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, “Regardless of the number of reviews, paying poor parents to dose their babies with commercial poisons to measure their exposure is just plain wrong.”