Candidates weigh in on dangerous pesticides
February 8, 2008
Want to know more about about where the candidates stand on food issues and the environment?
A questionnaire was designed by the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) to elicit responses and ideas from the 2008 presidential candidates regarding what environmental and conservation groups consider the most important national issues of the day. The results include an overview and 30 questions directed at each candidate. We’ve singled out one question in particular but be sure to check out the LCV site and take a look at the other twenty-nine.
Question 18: In recent years, the key agencies charged with protecting the safety and health of Americans and our food supply (U.S. EPA, FDA and USDA) have made decisions that put farm workers, children, and rural communities at high risk of exposure to pesticides known to be carcinogens, developmental toxicants, and neurotoxicants. For example, while more than 50 countries have banned all uses of the insecticide lindane, it is still approved by the FDA for pharmaceutical use in the U.S. And in August of 2006, hundreds of EPA staff scientists protested industry influence on the scientific integrity of the process that led to EPA’s blanket approval of continued use of the highly toxic organophosphate insecticides that many people are exposed to through food, water and air.If elected, how will you limit industry influence on these agencies, protect U.S. residents from these toxic pesticides, and promote the use of established, safer alternative pest control methods?
“This administration has undermined the use of science in policy-making throughout the government, all the while empowering industry lobbyists. As President, I will return our agencies to their proper function—safeguarding the public, not special interests. I will take seriously my power of appointment, choosing for key posts experts who are dedicated to the mission of their agency and who will value the conclusions of staff scientists.
For example, we need to prevent our government from testing pesticides on human subjects. This is just common sense, but with the present administration, it’s been a tough road. I was an original cosponsor of legislation by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) to prohibit the testing of pesticides on humans, and we passed that legislation. Unfortunately, the EPA ignored parts of it when making its rule, and so they are now being taken to court. Under an Obama administration, that never would have happened.”
“I have long protested the Bush Administration’s routine ignorance of science in setting environmental policy, and the regulation of pesticides and toxic substances is no exception. I will ensure that my Administration uses science to protect human health and the environment from pesticides and other toxic substances.”
Answer- John McCain
“I believe that adherence to the law, sound science, transparency, and accountability must be hallmarks of the rulemaking process. As president I will ensure that all stakeholders have the opportunity to express their views fully, fairly, and transparently in rulemaking procedures. Regulatory decisions affecting the health, safety, and welfare for our families must be based on scientific facts and be rendered according to the dictates of the law without prejudice, ulterior motive, or inappropriate influence by any special interest. I also believe that the nation must make a commitment, with the federal government as a research partner, to the development and deployment of effective non-chemical alternatives to pest management.”
Answer-Mike Huckabee. No response.