Sunday, June 26, 2005

DISSENTER'S NOTEBOOK: On Human Subjects for Pesticide Tests

Below is a response to the report by Congressman Waxman and Senator Boxer on pesticide tests using human subjects.

Dear Representative Waxman and Senator Boxer,

Thanks for your study of human subject experiments with toxic pesticides. I have read it and found it instructive. The offer of $950 over two years to poverty families who would offer their children as subjects was especially interesting to me, as was the determination of pesticide effects within a 24 hour period. Since these tests are conducted absent the protections of a representative government, I have come to the following conclusion about using pesticides on human subjects:

I support using human subjects, including children, for pesticide research for the purpose of pushing Congress and the EPA to lessen the guidelines and reduce the regulations regarding pesticides – but only under the following rigorously monitored conditions:

· All child subjects, without exception, must be minor children of executives of pesticide manufacturers and EPA administrators.

· There must be at least two thousand children included in each study.

· Black, Hispanic, and American Indian children or children of any other ethnic or national origin are prohibited from participation in such studies, even if their parents are Anglo, and work for pesticide companies or the EPA.

· Parents of all children in the study must have an annual income of at least $119,999 or more.

· Test results may be determined within 12 hours rather than the 24 hours used to check results in previous pesticide tests. Earlier studies indicate no need for long-range studies of up to 24 hours.

· Compensation to children undergoing such tests should be two tickets to the next Disney movie, saving manufacturers considerable expense. Parents can buy the popcorn.

· All adult subjects for tests must be chosen from among the employees of chemical, pharmaceutical, and agricultural corporations or from among regulatory personnel in the EPA and USDA or from among members of the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate.

· All other conditions that apply to children apply to adults with this exception: adults may be compensated up to four tickets for a Disney film in case they would like to take a spouse or children. They still buy the popcorn.

· Neither EPA, USDA, nor any manufacturer shall be liable for compensation to children or their parents or other adults who may suffer hospitalization or other harm or whose illnesses may be revealed beyond the 12-hour determination of test results.

· All the above conditions apply equally to herbicides, fertilizers, new pharmaceuticals, gmo and nutriceutical foods.

When considering lowering standards for pesticide and other chemical manufacturers, EPA or the USDA may review pesticide or other chemical studies of human subjects only if conducted under these conditions.

Perhaps this will put an end to such egregious uses of power and greed as to use human subjects for tests of toxic substances. Perhaps (Is this too much to hope?), it will also put an end to hiding negative results of such tests that might impede the ease with which manufacturers poison the rest of us.

Thank you for your consideration of this matter.

Gary Holthaus