BLUE RIDGE ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE LEAGUE www.bredl.org
Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League
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BLUE RIDGE ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE LEAGUE
PO Box 88 ~ Glendale Springs, North Carolina 28629 ~ Phone (336) 982-2691 ~ Fax (336) 982-2954 ~ Email: BREDL@skybest.com


PRESS RELEASE


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
December 12, 2005
CONTACTS:
David Mickey, Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, 336-769-0955, 336-624-2412 (cell)
Elizabeth O'Nan, Protect All Children's Environment, 828-724-4221
Stacey Gonzalez, Center for Health, Environment and Justice, 703-237-2249

SENATOR DOLE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR UNETHICAL VOTE

Today members of the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League hand delivered a letter to Senator Elizabeth Dole's Salisbury office challenging her opposition to a ban on using human subjects in pesticide experiments. This summer, Senator Dole voted against a measure introduced by Senator Boxer to ban testing pesticides on children and pregnant women.

Despite her "nay" vote, resounding bipartisan support won a Congressional mandate that instructed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to draft a rule prohibiting such studies. League members also delivered a copy of their comments to the EPA that were critical of shortcomings in the proposed rules. The deadline for sending comments is today.

"The EPA should stop devising loopholes in the rules and start encouraging industry to find safe alternatives to pesticides," said the League's David Mickey.

Over 68,000 individuals have submitted comments to the EPA and their state legislators, protesting EPA's new rule, which many see as a direct rebuke of the Congressional mandate because it maintains allowances to test pesticides on vulnerable groups. According to the Baltimore Sun, EPA members of the American Federation of Government Employees wrote EPA Administrator Steve Johnson to express their concerns about the difficult ethical decisions employees will be forced to make.

A letter to the EPA circulated by the Center for Health Environment and Justice highlights these concerns:

• EPA will accept human studies on pregnant women or children if the study is crucial to the protection of public health;

• If a child's capability is so limited that he or she cannot reasonably be consulted, such as orphaned newborns, severely mentally challenged children, they can be experimented on with the permission of the institution or other guardian;

• EPA can waive the entire regulation when conducting or funding chemical tests on children outside the United States.

In her comments to the EPA, Elizabeth O'Nan, director of Protect All Children's Environment, described EPA's performance this way: "The EPA has totally failed in their mandate to protect our health as hundred of thousands (from 15-30% of the US population by published studies) of Americans have been permanently injured by pesticide exposures. These chemically injured and disabled people have been failed by their government in their efforts to find justice in the courts, disability access to public schools, public meetings, and many other public places. But most of all they have been betrayed by the EPA who should have protected their health and prevented these injuries."

Mickey concluded, "Without ethical safeguards which protect everyone involved in human experimentation, innocent people, including North Carolinians, are at risk. It is unfortunate that Senator Dole cannot recognize this basic requirement. Her constituents deserve more."

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More info:

BREDL Dec. 12, 2005 letter to Senator Dole

Dec. 12, 2005: The rule promulgated under the US Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Pesticide Programs would have severe negative effects, allowing intentional exposure to pesticides to children and the unborn. Also, the EPA acknowledges that the impact of this rule change would have implications for new rulemakings at other federal agencies. But the rule does not meet minimum standards of ethical medical practice. BREDL comments on rule


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