Court Strikes Down EPA Press Release on Human Testing, but Reconfirms Agency's Authority to Reject Unethical Pesticide Testing

Statement by NRDC Senior Attorney Erik Olson

WASHINGTON (June 3, 2003) -- The U.S. Court of Appeals today held that if the Environmental Protection Agency wants to refuse data from pesticide industry human experimentation, it must propose a formal rule. The court therefore voided an EPA press release announcing that the agency would not consider the results of industry's human tests. NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) was an intervenor in the case. Click here to see the court decision.

Below is a statement by NRDC Senior Attorney Erik Olson:

"The court ruled against the EPA on procedural grounds, but it confirmed the agency's authority to reject industry human tests that do not satisfy strict regulations and the highest ethical standards. EPA would have to reject all industry human tests conducted so far under these criteria, and it's unlikely that the agency could consider any industry study that dosed people with pesticides to be ethical. But we are wary that, especially with Administrator Whitman leaving, the Bush administration might try to use this court decision as an excuse to accept industry's human tests."

The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, non-profit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has more than 550,000 members nationwide, served from offices in New York, Washington, Los Angeles and San Francisco.