Washington, DC, May 7, 2018 – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s controversial plan for disclosing the underlying data supporting its regulatory science has a big blind spot – pesticides. An analysis released today by Beyond Pesticides and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) points out that under Pruitt’s plan the public will still lack access to key data about the effects and efficacy of commercial poisons approved for sale and application in their communities and homes.
The proposed policy posted on April 30 in the Federal Register declares that it will “help ensure that EPA is pursuing its mission of public health and the environment in a manner that the public can trust and understand” yet it only applies to a very limited set of studies used to support certain EPA regulations.
It does not cover pesticide registrations, warning labels, use restrictions, or proof of effectiveness. In the current process, the pesticide manufacturer produces the underlying data for these EPA approvals and controls access to it. Thus, despite Pruitt’s sweeping claims of “transparency in regulatory science” –
- The public does not have access to the underlying data provided by the manufacturer to justify registering a new pesticide for commercial distribution;
- Industry will not have to provide the data used to assess health and environmental effects and farmworker impacts to set allowable dietary and non-dietary exposure limits; and
- On the product’s efficacy, the public also does not have access to the underlying data nor does EPA even review manufacturer data on product effectiveness, except for very limited purposes.
“To ensure full review, it is critical that the public and independent scientific community have complete access to safety testing data before poisonous pesticide products enter the marketplace,” said J. Routt Reigart, M.D., president of Beyond Pesticides. “Furthermore, the failure to label all ingredients in pesticide products used by the public runs contrary to the basic principle of informed decision making.”
In some pesticide decisions, such as conditional registrations, EPA grants new registrations and product labels without full information based on an agreement the manufacturer provides the data at a later date. Pruitt’s plan does not require industry to present its data up front or to make that data publicly available.
“Pruitt’s plan does not enable the public to have any meaningful information about ‘environmental health risk or safety risk’ as he claims,” stated PEER General Counsel Paula Dinerstein. “Under a false flag of scientific transparency, Pruitt’s scheme hobbles scientific work used to protect the public but shields industry data that may demonstrate the public health peril.”