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Stopping the Use of Humans as Test Subjects in Pesticide Research

A child and adult walk through a field.
Monika Gniot / Shutterstock

What's at Stake

The EPA's earlier rule on pesticide testing on humans favored the chemical industry and did not meet the scientific and ethical standards recommended by the National Academy of Sciences and outlined by the Nuremberg Code after World War II.

Case Overview

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had issued a rule on pesticide testing on humans that favored the chemical industry and did not meet the scientific and ethical standards recommended by the National Academy of Sciences and outlined by the Nuremberg Code after World War II.

In 2006, a coalition of health and environmental advocates, and farmworker protection groups, represented by Earthjustice, filed a lawsuit against EPA in 2006 agency seeking to prohibit EPA’s reliance on these unethical experiments that often led to weakened pesticide safety standards. The groups claimed that the 2006 rule violated a law Congress passed a year earlier requiring strict ethical and scientific protections for pesticide testing on humans.

In June 2010, the EPA settled this lawsuit and agreed to propose a new rule that would significantly strengthen scientific and ethical protections for tests of pesticides on humans.

In 2013, the EPA strengthened federal standards that make it harder for the chemical industry to use people as test subjects in pesticide research.

Case Updates

July 28, 2010 | Feature

EPA Agrees To Tighten Pesticide Testing On People

Pesticide experiments using people as test subjects will have stricter federal rules to follow under a new agreement reached between the Environmental Protection Agency and public health groups, farm worker advocates and environmental organizations.

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