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Human Testing

Testing Pesticides on Human Subjects

In 2004, CHEJ discovered a study co-sponsored by the American Chemistry Council (a conglomeration of companies including Dow, Monsanto, Bayer and other chemical-product makers) and the federal EPA that would have used 2-year old test subjects in a pesticide exposure study. Working with partner organizations, CHEJ generated 80,000 letters of protest against the study. Senators Waxman (D-FL) and Boxer (D-CA) used these letters to demand a moratorium on these types of human studies.

Effectively winning a one year moratorium on human testing studies, CHEJ continued to organize to pass the moratorium into law.

On June 25, 2005 in a major victory resulting from this pressure, the EPA released the first-ever federal rule on pesticide experiments that involve the use of human subjects. Over 50,000 individuals and organizations sent letters to the EPA during the 90–day public comment period on the proposed rule. The final rule categorically prohibits intentional dosing of pesticides on pregnant women and children. It is also the first time the EPA and third parties will be held to a strict process for conducting such studies. Prior to the passage of the rule, the EPA defaulted to evaluating exposure studies on a “case by case basis”, which presented major ethical and scientific concerns.