EPA Denies NRDC Claims

Published online: Aug 08, 2002
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As it completed six years of very intensive screening of crop-protection products to meet the guidelines of the Food Quality Protection Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency slammed critics for disseminating misinformation.

The EPA released the fact it had met a significant milestone for food safety by reassessing more than 6,400 allowable pesticide residues on food (called tolerances) to ensure they satisfy the tougher food-safety standard.

Despite this feat, the Natural Resources Defense Council took a shot at the EPA for falsely claiming to have met statutory deadline; characterized EPA’s approach as involving “Enron-like accounting”; failed to review the high-priority pesticides, and asserting that by releasing the Aug. 2 statement it somehow avoided public scrutiny.

EPA stated that it had met Congressionally mandated deadlines in the FQPA to reassess two-thirds of the existing pesticide tolerances. This was accomplished through numerous rounds of scientific public review.

On the charge of inaccurate accounting, EPA officials said the many stakeholders who invested valuable time and energy made the reassessment process a success. The Agency stands by the integrity of the program and says it is time-tested and open for public scrutiny.

Finally on the charge of overlooking high priority pesticides, the EPA said it had met monumental scientific and regulatory accomplishments by releasing a preliminary cumulative risk assessment for the organophosphates.