The Myth of Safety: A Failed Regulatory System
Despite what government agencies and corporations tell you, pesticide products currently on the market are not safe, even when they are used legally. There are many flaws in the way that pesticides are registered and in our political process that allows corporations to influence pesticide policy to allow the continued use of their poisonous products.
Even if we know that a pesticide causes severe health and environmental impacts, including cancer and genetic damage, it may still be allowed for use. The EPA may determine that a cancer-causing chemical may be used despite its public health hazard if its “economic, social or environmental” benefits are deemed greater than its risk. According to the US EPA, more than 70 active ingredients known to cause cancer in animal tests are allowed for use.
Although industry tests for a wide range of environmental and health impacts, the vast majority of pesticides currently on the market have not been fully tested.
Pesticides often contain inert ingredients in addition to the active ingredients that are designed to kill the target pest. Unfortunately, the public is not provided information about what inert ingredients are included in pesticides in most cases.
At least 382 of the chemicals that the U.S. EPA lists as inert ingredients were once or are currently also registered as pesticide active ingredients. This means that the public is kept in the dark about the contents of pesticide products that may be hazardous. Among the ingredients that are listed as both inert and active ingredients are chloropicrin, which has been linked to asthma and pulmonary edema, and chlorothanonil, a probable human carcinogen.