CHILDREN AND PESTICIDES: New Approach to Considering Risk Is Partly in Place
GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WASHINGTON DC HEALTH EDUCATION AND HUMAN SERVICES DIV
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Managing the risk of exposure to pesticides is important for all Americans, but especially for children, whose developing systems can be more susceptible to harm. The Food Quality Protection Act of 1996 FQPA requires the Environmental Protection Agency EPA, which regulates the use of pesticides at the federal level, to reevaluate the amounts of pesticide residues allowed on or in food-known as tolerances. EPA must ensure that the tolerances are safe, that is, that there is a reasonable certainty that no harm will result from exposure from all food and nonfood sources. EPA must consider available information concerning the combined or cumulative effects on children from groups of pesticides that may act on the body in similar harmful ways. You asked us to examine how EPA is applying these requirements of the FQPA. We focused our efforts on three questions 1 What approach has EPA developed for making decisions about applying the new safety factor 2 What progress has been made in considering aggregate exposure and cumulative effects 3 What progress has been made in reassessing tolerances for pesticide residues This report is based in part on a review of documents related to safety factor determinations and pesticide risk assessments, as well as a review of EPAs database for tracking tolerance reassessments. We supplemented this analysis with interviews at EPA, as well as with federal health agencies, chemical industry and environmental groups, and outside experts. We did not evaluate EPAs regulatory decisions or the quality of the data behind them.
- Food, Food Service and Nutrition
- Pesticides Pollution and Control