Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Clinton Initiative Targets Pesticides, Farm Chemicals

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Clinton Initiative Targets Pesticides, Farm Chemicals

Article excerpt

President Bill Clinton's administration proposed on Tuesday limiting pesticide residues on food and phasing out the most dangerous farm chemicals.

The array of new proposals crafted by three federal agencies are designed to protect public health while promoting new ways to control insects, weeds and plant diseases.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Carol M. Browner called the proposals "an opportunity to break the logjam of competing and vested interests (and) to ensure a rigorous standard for food safety that all Americans can rely on."

"The need for change is urgent. Nationwide, we use more than a billion pounds of pesticides each year. Of the 600 pesticides now in use, two-thirds have never been subjected to any health standards whatsoever," she said at a joint hearing of the House Energy subcommittee on health and the environment and the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee.

Clinton offered his plan three months after the National Academy of Sciences urged a cutback on pesticides because of risks to children.

The pesticide plan offered Tuesday orders the EPA to take special steps to protect children when it sets standards for how much chemical residue can be allowed in fresh produce or processed food.

The proposals were written by the EPA, the Agriculture Department and the Food and Drug Administration. They also would:

Eliminate the question of economic benefits in pesticide reviews, a consideration that has been important in government regulation of pesticides.

Broaden the health standard of "reasonable certainty of no harm" when it comes to pesticide residues on food.

Set up a seven-year program to phase out pesticides that do not meet safety standards. Within six months, the government will prepare a list of the riskiest pesticides.

Prohibit the export of pesticides that have been banned by the U.S. government or withdrawn by companies because they cause health problems.

Order new protections for American farm workers.

Set a goal of using pest-control methods other than regular chemical spraying on 75 percent of U. …

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