Felsot: Pesticide residues on food are safe

Great report and just a small nit to pick with a stray (perhaps misreported) Felsot comment.

Environment and Energy Daily reports,

The agriculture industry took to Capitol Hill yesterday to tout a new report that seeks to dispel “myths” about the dangers of pesticides.

The report, “Pesticides and Health: Myths and Realities,” was written by Allan Felsot, an environmental toxicologist at Washington State University, and published by the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH). It argues that pesticide technologies have evolved to the point where they pose little risk to human health while protecting the world’s food supply.

The report also seeks to strongly push back against public health advocates who sound the alarm about protecting the country’s food from pesticides.

“Despite the headlines of hazard,” Felsot writes, “modern chemical technology provides hope for continued improvement of human health, whether helping to make vegetables and fruits of high quality more abundant and cheaper, or to preserve (or indeed, enhance) the health of individuals and society at large”…

“When you pick up food, you are eating thousands of chemicals at a time,” he said.

Bearded, bespectacled and with a long pony-tail, Felsot — who spent part of yesterday briefing lawmakers on Capitol Hill — might not look like the typical industry spokesman. But he took issue with several public health advocacy reports, most notably the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) shopper’s guide to pesticides in produce, which ranks fruits and vegetables based on pesticide residues.

The report, he said, failed to take into account whether the pesticide residues pose a health risk.

“Foods have pesticides residues on them. Period,” he said. “That’s completely why what they did is wrong.”

EWG was quick to fire back.

“This industry front group has rushed to the defense of asbestos and downplayed the risks of tobacco,” EWG senior scientist Sonya Lunder said of ACSH. “I’m not surprised they’ve brought in a spokesman to extol the benefits of toxic pesticides in the food we eat.”

BTW Allan, we love you but, there was nothing wrong with DDT.

Felsot PesticidesClick for Felsot’s report.

6 thoughts on “Felsot: Pesticide residues on food are safe”

  1. EPA sets “Pesticide Tolerances”, i.e. the SAFE amount of pesticide that can legally be left on food sold.
    The regulated industry must pay millions for the tests and studies upon which these “Tolerances” are based. These are called “Pesticide Tolerance Fees” and their cost is SET BY EPA.
    Further, EPA is typically in charge of who does said “tests and studies”, or, at least, which “tests and studies” are acceptable to them.
    EPA then adds on arbitrary “Margins of Safety” — based on nothing — which further lower the “Tolerance” (the amount of pesticide considered “safe” by EPA standards).
    The final “Tolerances” are set far, FAR below any amount that could be considered “toxic” to humans.
    EPA then tests samples of produce to make sure that these “Tolerances” are not exceeded. So, in addition to paying to wash off any pesticide residues, the agricultural industry must also pay for this “sampling” (and the training of the samplers).
    These costs are then passed on to consumers, making produce more expensive for little or no benefit.

  2. Well said edwardgallager, except it isn’t just the present administration–they just maybe more effective at it than others. Most politicians simply want to increase their own power and restrict your freedom–that’s why they are politicians instead of productive citizens. Until the electorate realizes that letting anyone be a career politician is a sure path to serfdom nothing is likely to change, and the majority of voters will get exactly what they deserve. Unfortunately, the minority will be stuck with what the majority deserves, and not what they deserve.

  3. Pesticides are really only a threat if you’re a PEST. Can one draw an inference as to the reason behind the environmentalist’s aversion to such substances?? Just wondering…

  4. The left has never really been worried about food safety as much as food abundance. None of their agenda can work unless there is a shortage of something, real or make believe. Unless you have a shortage of food, you can’t have rationing, no rationing, no control. Pesticide bans would only serve to raise the cost of groceries to the point where feeding a middle class family would be so expensive as to bring in price controls and rationing by the very government that printed the regulations that caused the crisis to begin with. In every area of our economy the thrust of every regulatory agency under the Obama administration has been to raise the cost of doing business and restrict expansion and growth and in the process create an artificial shortage causing price increases. Whether it is food, fuel,or health care, the administration has devoted its efforts to discourage growth in all sectors of our economy, they just don’t admit that the failure of democratic capitalism is their goal. Ethanol for example. It is a crummy fuel, expensive to manufacture, caused billions in mechanical damage, and has raised the cost of food while contributing little to our real gasoline inventory. If we remove the subsidies, it will become as plentiful as whale oil, only with less value. The billions of taxpayer dollars wasted on ethanol subsidies could have stayed in the pockets of the taxpayers and put to much better use. Ethanol is an innovative example of legal thievery. Taxpayers are forced to subsidize the farms that produce corn for ethanol, the manufacturers of the ethanol, then pay more for gas due to ethanol, more for food due to transportation costs. Higher repair bills on cars due to the hydroscopic nature of ethanol. The dangerous deterioration of marine fuel tanks and the resultant spills have cost uncounted millions in damage and clean up costs. Never mind engine damage from octane dillution due to increased water content in marine gasoline becoming emulsified in the gas due to the ethanol absorbtion qualities. I’m not seeing any green here with this idea, unless it is the green going into the pockets of Obama’s buddies who profit from the subsidy racket. With their myopic vision of society, the left sees starvation as a legitimate policy objective to reach their goal of a zero growth economy. It is ironic that every attempt at socialism has caused a decline in the living standards of the people it was supposed to be benefiting. With pesticides, the left cites food safety as their goal when all they really accomplish is to make it more expensive, thus scarce. We can only hope the electorate realize the total failure the Obama administration has become and seek to return to common sense economic and agricultural policies and cause an unemployment crisis among the leftist glitteratti in Washington.

  5. Always try and paste the words “industry spokesman” to denigrate those with whom the environmentalists disagree, as if they aren’t the stooges of the big environmental groups themselves.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.