(PresidentialDaily.org) -Almost 30 years ago, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was ordered by Congress to test every pesticide that is used on food products. There was a three-year window (from 1996 to 1999) that the EPA had to check all this for endocrine disruption.
Yet, today in 2023, the agency still doesn’t do what it is supposed to.
That’s according to a new lawsuit that plaintiffs filed against the EPA back in December, alleging that the federal agency has failed to implement the Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program that is required of them.
As the lawsuit points out:
“As of the time of this filing, more than 25 years after the passage of the Food Quality Protection Act, [the] EPA has yet to implement the Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program it created and further, has failed to even initiate endocrine testing for approximately 96% of registered pesticides.”
Chemicals that disrupt endocrines are compounds that have the ability to interfere with, block or mimic how hormones properly function. This is why many experts say that the screening required under the program is vital, as it can help protect people’s health.
These compounds have been officially linked to a wide variety of serious health issues, including respiratory issues, diabetes, some cancers and obesity. They’ve also been shown to have a potentially negative impact on the body’s immune, reproductive and nervous systems.
The lawsuit claims that the only thing the EPA has done is draft a white paper that updated just one aspect of the required program, which was set to go into effect two months ago.
The program took 20 years to release the first batch of results it got from tests, in 2015, but it’s been completely dormant since then.
There were 52 pesticides that were screened for activities related to disrupting endocrines, and 18 of them were labeled as needing additional testing. Yet, none of that further testing has happened, and all of the pesticides are still being used today.
Another alarming part the lawsuit pointed out is that there are in excess of 1,400 pesticides that are registered with the EPA today, so the 52 that were tested in 2015 represent an extremely small percentage of the potentially harmful chemicals.
Ya-Wei Li, the deputy assistant administrator for pesticide programs at the EPA, recently spoke with Environmental Health News, saying that the changes being implemented this year mark an important milestone. He promised that more will come on the program later in the year.
That being said, he didn’t comment on why the program has never gotten off the ground fully.
Attorney Pegga Mosavi, who works with the non-profit group the Center for Food Safety, commented:
“This is a program that’s been ignored for 25 years, essentially. We started looking into it last summer and recognized just how egregious the entire issue was.
“It’s impacting so many people, specifically a lot of people [represented by] our clients. Farmworkers are incredibly vulnerable, since they are the most directly exposed to pesticides via their occupation, but there’s also concern of exposure via food and drinking water.”