Tell EPA: Don't Limit Science

Even if you study pesticides a lot, like we do, keeping tabs on pesticide science and regulation is difficult.

On August 9, we cheered a court win. A federal appeals court told the EPA to move forward with a ban on chlorpyrifos (sold under the trade name Lorsban), a neurotoxic pesticide that is used on dozens of foods, Christmas trees, and other crops. Serious human health issues have been traced to chlorpyrifos, including lower birth weight and reduced IQs for children whose mothers were exposed during pregnancy, according to epidemiological studies. And fish scientists have concluded that chlorpyrifos jeopardizes the continued existence of threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead. (See our chlorpyrifos factsheet here).

EPA’s scientists had recommended that chlorpyrifos be banned, a recommendation that was dismissed by former head of EPA, Scott Pruitt, shortly after he took office.  

A recent article in the New York Times helps illuminate why the science that resulted in the proposed ban, and even the court decision ordering the ban, may be threatened by a broader trend at EPA – a chemical industry-backed attempt to limit use of epidemiological studies in agency risk assessments.

Epidemiology is the science of figuring out what diseases affect people as a group. When diseases can be traced to a distinct cause afflicting people who have similar characteristics, such as occupation, we can remedy the problem by trying to eliminate the cause. Epidemiology has contributed to huge breakthroughs in medicine and public health over the last hundred years.

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Now, pushed by industry lobbying, the EPA wants to limit the use of epidemiological studies, preferring instead its traditional methods of testing chemicals on lab rats. Ironically, EPA’s leaders are claiming that unless they see the identities of individuals followed in epidemiological studies, the data is suspect. Federal privacy regulations allow individual identities to be withheld in epidemiological studies. Despite this, EPA is ramping up public confusion by calling such data “secret science,” a tagline also used by tobacco companies in the 70s when the health and safety of their products were being closely examined.

Does this discrediting of sound science sound familiar?

NCAP is here to say that epidemiological studies comprise a legitimate, best available science. If you believe that the EPA should continue to weigh epidemiological studies in its risk assessments, please sign below. We will submit this petition to the EPA in September as it considers its proposed, so-called Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science regulation.

Petition Text:

"Epidemiological studies are important for understanding human health effects of pesticides. The EPA should continue to weigh epidemiological studies in its risk assessments to ensure that human health is fully protected."

41 signatures

Will you sign?

Showing 35 reactions

  • Ruth Schellbach
    signed 2018-09-13 16:31:47 -0700
  • Tami Rigden
    signed 2018-09-10 11:16:45 -0700
  • susan clark
    signed 2018-09-04 14:01:37 -0700
    put these killers out of business for good
  • carl Hunt
    signed 2018-09-04 13:07:21 -0700
    Just watched ‘Victorian Killers’ on PBS about arsenic in wallpaper killing kids, lead in water pipes & paint (150 years ago) and sealing tins of food and later put in gasoline and still in sinkers & jigs for fish tackle. Pesticides like DDT were condemned in 1960s along with 2-4-5-T in ’70s (agent orange) and industry is still using the same lame excuses to deny & distract from harm of glyphosate & neonectids etc. Corrupt scientists and senior corporate executives should be held directly responsible for the sickness & death that result from their decisions. Instead we sue & level fines paid by shareholders that trust the expertise of despicable individuals that are only driven by greed.

    “When will we ever learn?”
  • Margie Corey
    signed 2018-09-03 22:02:37 -0700
  • Letitia Noel
    signed 2018-09-02 15:28:54 -0700
    We are mired by disease. Our life span is decreasing. The umbrella of metabolic illness grows. Please do something to track the damage of rampant chemical overuse. That something is the use of epidemiological studies on the health people, animals, plants and insects.
  • claudia gonzalez
    signed via 2018-09-01 20:42:46 -0700
    claudia gonzalez
  • Susan Heath
    signed 2018-09-01 16:30:06 -0700
  • Maxine Dunkelman
    signed 2018-08-31 20:35:22 -0700
  • Karen Woodhall
    signed 2018-08-31 13:12:10 -0700
  • Paule Hjertaas
    signed 2018-08-30 18:13:36 -0700
    The tests mandated to register pesticides are insufficient to evaluate “safe use” . It becomes obvious when a registered pesticide has to be restricted or taken off the market entirely Epidemiological studies are fundamental is further assessment of the effects of a pesticide and unfortunately lacking for most registered products.
  • Anthony Carvalho
    signed 2018-08-29 23:20:57 -0700
  • Betsy Fairlamb
    signed 2018-08-29 10:42:53 -0700
  • Susan Deemer
    signed 2018-08-28 20:42:48 -0700
    Susan E Deemer
  • Teresa Beutel
    signed 2018-08-28 20:05:28 -0700
  • Calli Madrone
    signed 2018-08-28 18:32:47 -0700
    Calli Madrone
  • Kristy Swanson
    signed 2018-08-28 17:52:43 -0700
    Epidemiological studies are important to consider in weighing the risks to human health of using certain chemicals.
  • Karen Scott
    signed via 2018-08-28 17:28:29 -0700
  • Jerry and Katherine Schultz
    signed 2018-08-28 15:06:40 -0700
    We too have had a personal experience with pesticides and their danger. We oppose their use in schools, parks, farming, etc. The general public thinks they are safe to use! The makers are not forthcoming with truth about their product. Epidemiological studies must be considered because one cannot do a scientific study with human beings and intentionally expose people in the study to possibly dangerous chemicals! The EPA must include epidemiological studies in their risk assessment of a pesticide.

    Jerry and Katherine Schultz
  • Michael Nesson
    signed 2018-08-28 15:04:11 -0700
  • Joan Bradley
    signed 2018-08-28 14:24:53 -0700
  • Rebecca May-Doyle
    signed 2018-08-28 12:18:05 -0700
  • Richard Crerie
    signed 2018-08-28 10:26:28 -0700
  • Katie Beebe
    signed 2018-08-28 09:35:19 -0700
  • Christina Conroy
    signed 2018-08-28 09:00:52 -0700
    Christina Conroy
  • Alisa Rettschlag
    signed 2018-08-28 09:00:19 -0700
    Alisa Rettschlag
  • Edward Rehanek
    signed 2018-08-28 08:52:33 -0700
    As a member of the local chapter of SASS (Safe Ag Safe Schools) in Watsonville, CA, where strawberries are intensively grown, I am appalled that the EPA would choose lab rat studies over epidemiological data on human exposures to pesticides. Studies such as the UC Berkeley CHAMACOS research in the Salinas Valley, spanning 20 years, demonstrate the importance of epidemiological data in creating public policy to protect children and farmworkers—some of most valuable and vulnerable people.
  • Barbara Goodell
    signed 2018-08-28 08:37:24 -0700
    Barbara Goodell—Is there any reason not to fully explore what else a pesticide will do besides kill its target?
  • Nancy Diskin
    signed 2018-08-28 08:35:12 -0700
    Nancy Diskin
  • Sandra Joos
    signed 2018-08-28 08:33:10 -0700