EPA releasing new, stricter rules on human testing of pesticides

Researchers would be prohibited from intentionally exposing children and pregnant women to pesticides in order to study the chemicals’ effects, under new regulations being proposed today by the U.S. EPA. The agency formulated the rules — its first-ever on human testing of pesticides — after news emerged several months ago about a planned test in Florida that would have paid parents if they allowed their kids to be subjects of pesticide tests. Much public outrage ensued, and Congress inserted restrictions on human testing of pesticides into an appropriations bill. EPA officials discussed the new guidelines with reporters yesterday, but declined to make copies of them available — leading some critics of pesticide testing, including Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), to worry that controversial provisions written into earlier drafts may have survived into the final version. Once the proposed rules are formally released, the public will have 90 days to comment on them.