Are Pesticide Risk Assessments compromised by the actual Evaluation Process?

Pesticide risk assessments seen as biased, experts advise

image of Monsanto pesticide to be sprayed on food crops
The Environmental Protection Agency’s pesticide toxicity assessments often rely heavily on industry-funded studies and may omit research that could lead to different findings.

A September 2014 press release revealed that a team of ecotoxicologists from AIBS examined how the EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency’s) carried out their evaluations on pesticide safety. The group argued that the agency’s current practices are inadequate and biased, which could potentially jeopardize the environment and the health of both humans and animals…


Pesticide use results in the widespread distribution of chemical contaminants, which necessites regulatory agencies to assess the risks to environmental and human health. However, risk assessment is compromised when relatively few studies are used to determine impacts, particularly if most of the data used in an assessment are produced by a pesticide’s manufacturer, which constitutes a conflict of interest.
Here, we present the shortcomings of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s pesticide risk assessment process, using the recent reassessment of atrazine’s impacts on amphibians as an example. We then offer solutions to improve the risk assessment process, which would reduce the potential for and perception of bias in a process that is crucial for environmental and human health.

Sources and More Information:
  • Pesticide Regulation amid the Influence of Industry, BioScience, doi: 10.1093/biosci/biu138, September 3, 2014
  • Pesticide risk assessments seen as biased, experts advise, ScienDaily, 140903121850, 3 September 2014.
  • Does EPA favors industry when assessing chemical dangers?, NewsWeek, 03 Sep 2014.
  • Report Calls out the EPA’s Pesticide Evaluation Practices, Counsel&Heal, 11158/20140903, Sep 03, 2014.

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