Blame Tobacco Companies For Lax Pesticide Regs

Although eating organic foods can greatly decreases your exposure to pesticides, how have conventionally grown fruits and vegetables remain so tainted with dangerous chemicals in the first place? Perhaps, it had much to do campaigning by the tobacco industry to delay or weaken federal and international rules on pesticide use, according to a recent report (free text link below).

Some of the shenanigans pulled by the tobacco industry, based on some 2,000 once-secret internal documents and almost 4,000 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) documents:

  • Hired scientists who had once worked for the EPA to lobby the federal agency on its behalf.
  • Staged a false test to convince regulators an especially dangerous pesticide needed no further restrictions.
  • Employed a consultant who influenced decisions made by the World Health Organization without revealing his industry ties.

In one case, former EPA employees worked with the tobacco industry to weaken a series of risk mitigation measures proposed by the agency to protect consumers and workers phosphine based on a phony claim by tobacco makers that tougher rules would make it impossible "to fumigate stored tobacco."

Why you should be worried about this, even if you don't smoke but still indulge in eating grains: Phosphine is the very same chemical used to store them.

EurekAlert September 15, 2005

Environmental Health Perspectives August 8, 2005 Free Full Text Article

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