Herbicide Myths Vs. the Facts
MYTH: The Government tests pesticides
for safety before they are sold.
It seems that however this problem is approached, the EPA needs to take more affirmative action and responsibility. This is not likely to happen, as the EPA’s research program increasingly relies on corporate joint venture, according to agency documents obtained by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Indeed, a study by the Government Accountability Office (the investigative arm of Congress – the same people who first told us of the $640 toilet seats and $1,000 hammers purchased with Department of Defense money), in April 2005, concluded that the EPA lacks safeguards to “evaluate or manage potential conflicts of interest” in corporate research agreements, as they are taking money from corporations that they are supposed to be regulating.
MYTH: What you need to know is on the
Most consumers assume that the inert ingredients are somehow “inactive” and therefore not harmful to health or environment. Nothing could be further from the truth. The chemicals used as inerts include some of the most dangerous substances known. A chemical may be identified as an active ingredient in one pesticide, while being included under inert ingredients in another product, and not identified. The designation reflects the purpose the chemical serves in a given formulation, and is at the discretion of the manufacturer. Consequently, some chemicals that are “controlled substances” in one formulation, may be used as “inert ingredients” and not listed in another.
MYTH: There are laws…
In 1990 the Office of the Attorney General of New York filed a request that all inert ingredients in pesticides be made public. The request was repeated a number of times through the decade, to no avail. Sixteen years later, in August of 2006, the attorneys general of 14 states have filed a similar petition to the EPA. This time the EPA is obliged to respond within a given time period.
MYTH: There are safe pesticides.
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Updated: Nov 17, 2006.