Pesticides Tested for Risk to Children

Letter to the editor
Copyright 1998 Dow Jones & Co., Inc.
Wall Street Journal May 8, 1998

In her April 22 Letter to the Editor responding to Michael Fumento's April 2 editorial-page article "Will the EPA Make America Safe for Cockroaches?" Jeannine Kenney is misinformed on the scientific issues surrounding potential health risks in children. First, the current pesticide registration process does examine potential toxicity in children. The current core testing program under FIFRA includes at least 120 tests, several of which are designed to specifically look for potential toxicity in young and developing organisms. For example, one looks at mothers, their babies, and their babies' babies.

Second and more important, when the pest-control tools are tested for effects on the brain and developing nervous system using the most sophisticated and sensitive tests available, no effects are seen with organophosphates that would indicate children are at greater potential risk.

So the science behind the pesticide registration process does test for effects in children and when the tests are performed, no effects are seen that would indicate children are at risk of developing "permanent loss of brain function."

Laura M. Plunkett, Ph.D.
Plunkett & Associates

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