“This is the most significant step the EPA has taken in years to increase transparency about pesticides’ harms,” one advocate said.
by Johnathan Hettinger, Investigate Midwest
July 27, 2023
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency posted searchable databases of pesticide harm for the first time in agency history on Thursday.
The databases, which include reports of harm to people, pets, wildlife and the environment, include information from pesticide companies, state regulators, direct complaints to the EPA and reports to the National Pesticide Information Center and the American Association of Poison Control Centers.
The EPA regulates pesticides through the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act. After a pesticide is registered, manufacturers are required to report incidents of harm to the agency. The EPA is supposed to use that information in its safety assessments, though previous Investigate Midwest reporting shows the agency had no system for reviewing incidents.
“People have the right to know when accidental pesticide exposures or other incidents are reported to the agency,” said Michal Freedhoff, EPA assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, in a press release. “It is particularly critical to share how pesticides may have impacted our most vulnerable populations, including children and farmworkers.”
The EPA said that it is releasing the information in alignment with its Equity Action Plan and President Joe Biden’s Executive Order 14096, Revitalizing Our Nation’s Commitment to Environmental Justice for All.