Subcommittee Addresses Public Health Issues arising from EPA's Questionable Implementation of FQPA

Aug 3, 1999

Washington, D.C. — Today, the House Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, Nutrition and Forestry, led by Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) reviewed the potentially adverse effects on public health that will result from the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) current process for implementing the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA).  The Subcommittee also reviewed yesterday's announcement by Administrator Carol Browner that the EPA is restricting two commonly used crop protectants, Methyl Parathion and Azinphos Methyl.

Today, witnesses and Members of the Subcommittee expressed concern that this was only the beginning step to banning a class of extremely effective pesticides known as organophosphates.  Such a prohibition would lead to a dangerous lack of useful protectants against both crop-destroying pests and disease-carrying insects, and will exacerbate the current crisis facing American farmers.

"Abuse of process, reluctance to incorporate agreed upon procedures for evaluating scientific evidence, blatant disregard for a process which envelops all the stakeholders' interests and hasty implementation potentially affects all of us?both those needing pesticides to fight disease carrying insects as well as the farmers relying on a myriad of diverse pesticides for crop production," Goodlatte said.  "Many of the same pesticides are used for both public health control programs as well as agriculture."

Today's hearing was the third in the series to review the USDA's and EPA's implementation of FQPA.  After today's testimony and throughout previous hearings, it is apparent that the EPA is failing to use real world studies and the "best available data" as required by law in making decisions regarding pesticide tolerances.  Instead, it has relied on assumptions and politically tainted assessments that threaten not only the livelihoods of farmers, but also the health of the general public.

"Anyone who has followed FQPA implementation can't help but be disappointed by the irresponsible scare tactics demonstrated by special interest groups, and the lack of leadership we have seen in recent days on the part of policy makers," said Ranking Member Charlie Stenholm.  "We would all do well to keep in mind that our nation continues to have the safest, most abundant, highest quality food, at the lowest cost to the consumer, of any nation in the world."

"All elements and uses of pesticides are now invariably linked under FQPA," Goodlatte said.  "Fewer pesticides undermine public health programs, resulting in more cockroaches associated with asthma, more mosquitoes that carry malaria, more ticks which transmit Lyme disease, and more termites which destroy houses, barns, and businesses."

Goodlatte represents Virginia's Sixth Congressional District, which includes Roanoke, Lynchburg, and the Shenandoah Valley.