imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Spoon-Feeding Poison: EPA Opens the Door to Testing Bug Killers on People

by Tennille Tracy Monday, Jul. 14, 2003 at 10:52 AM

The Bush administration is now moving to endorse the testing of noxious and lethal chemicals on human beings.

Since this spring, despite rife opposition from the medical community, the Environmental Protection Agency has quietly begun lifting a 1998 ban on accepting such research. Once the prohibition is gone, which will likely happen next year, chemical companies will have the full support of the federal government to dose healthy young men and women with the latest insecticides, rodenticides, and fungicides.

This marks the second round in a fiery debate over pesticide tests using people. In the late 1990s, a group of doctors and public health advocates noticed that pesticide companies were conducting a growing number of these trials as part of attempts to get government approval. The advocates railed against the EPA and balked at the agency's failure to enforce ethical standards. The "EPA does not routinely require companies who conduct human experiments to . . . follow any ethical protocol," noted a 1998 report from the Environmental Working Group.

Later that year, with criticism mounting, the agency prohibited its offices from using human data in new pesticide registrations. Some companies continued the testing, however, saying it was necessary to determine health risks. But they also preferred that method because they got more favorable readings from dosing people as opposed to lab rats.

The tests appear to defy the very essence of the Hippocratic oath, "First, do no harm." Unlike tests for exploratory vaccines and medicines, pesticide studies offer zero benefits for participants. They're designed to find the level at which concoctions of orange juice and bug spray won't send people crawling toward death, and are considered a glowing success only when nothing happens. Independent researchers say the tests' scientific value is highly suspect.

But there's big money at stake, especially with the EPA considering new restrictions or outright bans on a number of products. On March 31, the Office of Management and Budget, the White House's rule review board, signed off on a rough draft of a new policy that would again allow the EPA to accept the test results.

Doctors, environmentalists, and public health advocates have been fighting the change. When the EPA first took up the idea, medical experts began to pore over a stack of human tests. They found many of the studies were cloaked in claims of valid research but were dominated by practices that belonged in the annals of medical farce. "A reasonable person might conclude that they were specifically designed to fail to show effects of the pesticides," said Dr. Alan Lockwood, a member of Physicians for Social Responsibility and a neurology professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Vermin killers have a nasty history. In 1934, Nazi Germany whipped up the first batch of pesticides—organophosphates, in scientific parlance—for use as a chemical weapon. Although the toxic soup never made it to the front lines, I.G. Farben, the company that manufactured it, found it could be marketed as bug sprays and rodent zappers.

Today, big chemical companies are fans of human research because it encourages less stringent standards. With data from lab animals, the EPA assumes the predicted hazards for humans would be greater by a factor of 10. It's called the "inter-species rule," adopted by Congress to account for potential differences between reactions in, say, a two-year-old child and a mature lab rat. Testing on humans lets a company duck the automatic increase.

That translates directly into several billion dollars for the pesticide industry, which annually sells nearly 4.5 billion pounds of chemicals—at a profit of more than billion. Manufacturers have an outsized financial incentive to push for testing on humans, warned Dr. Lynn Goldman, the EPA's pesticide director under President Clinton and now a professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "EPA must of course be mindful at all times of the test sponsors' interests in performing tests and, of course, of the almost overwhelming economic incentives that companies have to find ways to market more of their products," she said in January, testifying before the National Academy of Sciences.

Critics say the companies give sparse attention to decent testing procedures and that nearly every aspect of the testing seems driven by the need to get EPA approval.

Take, for example, a 1999 test conducted by the Lincoln, Nebraska-based MDS Harris Laboratory. A handful of subjects were administered Dow Chemical's chlorpyrifos, a direct descendant of Hitler's nerve agents. MDS Harris had recruited the group of healthy young men and women by assuring them their health would be preserved, and by handing out juicy compensation checks. They were told in consent agreements that low doses of chlorpyrifos "have been shown to improve performance on numerous tests of mental function," implying that the chemical could propel them into a new realm of genius. "The consent process was inadequate, deceptive, or both," Dr. Lockwood said. "This makes it sound like chlorpyrifos is good for you and may make you smarter—a clear deception."

Nevertheless, when none of them died, fainted, or delivered farewell speeches while clutching their hearts in agony, Dow submitted a glowing report of the pesticide to the EPA and eagerly awaited registration approval. Just one year later, on June 8, 2000, the EPA determined that chlorpyrifos, a widely employed pesticide, posed an "unreasonable threat" and said residential uses should be expeditiously restricted.

In another experiment, conducted in 1997 at the Central Toxicology Laboratory, researchers gave oral doses of dichlorvos, a common insecticide, to a group of six young men. When four of them suffered a dangerous drop in vital enzyme levels, they had to withdraw from the test. With only two subjects able to complete the doses, the Central Toxicology Laboratory announced that "no symptoms or adverse effects . . . were reported." They skirted the fact that two-thirds of the participants had to drop out and effectively asserted that the results derived from two people adequately reflected the potential harm to 266 million U.S. citizens.

And there is potential harm. Pesticides eat away at an enzyme called cholinesterase, which plays a key role in all physical movement. It sweeps away chemical debris between nerve cells, allowing those cells to fire up to 1,000 electric impulses to each other every second. Pesticides break down cholinesterase, leaving millions of chemical messages to clog the works. In mild cases, this leads to nausea, sweating, uncontrollable drooling, headaches, and vomiting. In severe cases, it causes muscular tremors, abnormally low blood pressure, loss of bowel functions, slowed heart rates, and even death.

But test groups rarely get that sick. And that's no surprise, considering their size and make-up. They're usually limited to between six and 50 people, typically young and healthy adults who are paid anywhere from 0 to ,000. The studies are advertised in local newspapers or on college campuses, specifically targeted to attract people from low-income or minority communities.

Pesticide companies insist that trying out their wares on you and your neighbors allows idiosyncratic human reactions to surface. "These safety factors are necessary," said Ray McAllister, vice president for science and regulatory affairs for CropLife America, a lobbying group representing 41 corporations, including Dow, DuPont, and Monsanto. "If we don't know how humans react, then we can't be confident of safety."

The industry is lining the campaign coffers on Capitol Hill. In the five years since the EPA stopped looking at human research, the Center for Responsive Politics reports, companies providing agricultural services and products donated more than million to political campaigns, almost 70 percent of which went to Republicans.

Report this post as:

Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 2 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
CROPLIFE AMERICA WELCOMES COURT RULING Bill Tuesday, Jul. 15, 2003 at 12:30 PM
Huh? Reality Check Tuesday, Jul. 15, 2003 at 4:33 PM

Local News


lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

What does the Quran Say About Islamic Dress?? A21 4:15PM

Biodiversité ou la nature privatisée A20 11:22AM

The Market is a Universal Totalitarian Religion A20 7:14AM

Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service A19 5:52PM

The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally! A19 4:01PM

The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder A19 11:48AM

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

Amy Goodman interview on cell phone safety A08 10:29PM

Mesa, Arizona police officer kills unarmed white man A08 9:50PM

Israeli leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes A08 9:48PM

Paraphysique de l'autorité A08 12:11AM

Two Podcasts on fbi corruption A06 10:13PM

Fbi assassins assault & try to kill DAVID ATKINS A06 7:29PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy