CropLife conference notes costs of EPA’s mandated rush to judgment
By Jon H. Harsch
© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.
Washington, April 15 – This year’s 2010 Science and Regulatory Spring Conference hosted by CropLife America and RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment) heard EPA Senior Scientist Gary Timm from the Office of Science Coordination & Policy explain EPA’s complex Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program, noting that with tight deadlines set by Congress to review chemicals for possible harmful effects, EPA is forced to take “a learn-by-doing” approach.
Next up was environmental consultant Dr. Ellen Mihaich of Environmental & Regulatory Resources. She said the tight timeline for endocrine disruptor testing results in using tests that are “not adequately validated” and that are subject to “inconsistency in the standards for and interpretation of validation.” She said one victim of this rushed process is “robust science.”
Epidemiologist Carol Burns of Dow AgroSciences commented that EPA is working with “poor assumptions” and that the lack of proven links between crop protection agents on the market now and adverse health effects should be taken as proof of how well the system has been working over the years.
Speaking on USDA research, Dr. Ralph Otto, Interim Deputy Director at USDA’s National Institute of Food & Agriculture, listed climate change, bioenergy, food safety, nutrition, and international food security as the department’s top priorities. He noted that one way to achieve better outcomes for agriculture might be to organize the nation’s 45 million 4H graduates into a voting bloc – one which would understand agriculture.
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