Congress Sides With People Over Pesticide-Makers and EPA

WASHINGTON (June 29, 2005) -- A day after the Bush administration's proposal to allow industry to test pesticides on people was leaked to the media, the Senate acted to block the testing of pesticides on humans. By a vote of 60-37, the Senate today adopted a bipartisan amendment to the 2006 Interior and Environment appropriations bill, which blocks for one year the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from spending tax dollars to fund or review studies that intentionally expose people to pesticides. That amendment, which was championed by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), mirrors legislation recently adopted by the House of Representatives.

The Senate also voted 57-40 to adopt another amendment, offered by Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.), which requires EPA to review the ethical ramifications of human pesticide testing and adopt rules governing such testing. The measure was surprising, given that Sen. Burns has been one of the most vocal proponents of human pesticide testing.

"With today's vote, Congress has soundly rejected an unsafe and unethical practice that puts the profits of the pesticide industry before public health," said Erik Olson, senior health attorney at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). "It's time for the Bush administration to realize that children shouldn't be used as guinea pigs."