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PROGRAMS

National Pesticide Program

(See endnote 28)

The EPA’s National Pesticide Program protects human health and the environment from unreasonable adverse effects from pesticide use, storage, and disposal. It helps protect agricultural workers and individuals who are preparing, using, storing, or disposing of pesticides. The field program is implemented by the various states through investigations, establishing worker protection, certification and training of people, and water quality protection. The program ensures appropriate pesticide use and the use of alternatives where feasible. It also provides funds to make the program work. National decisions on the use of specific pesticides are implemented at the local and state level.

Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program

(See endnotes 12, 13, 14)

This program was mandated by Congress after scientists found in the 1990s that certain chemicals were disrupting the endocrine systems of humans and wildlife which resulted in developmental and reproductive problems. The requirements were embodied in the Food Quality Protection Act and Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments in 1996 and the EPA was given the authority to screen, test, and if necessary mitigate or limit a group of chemicals to determine if they mimicked the effects produced by female hormones and produced other potential endocrine effects. The EPA selected chemicals as tier 1 for first review based on recommendations from an advisory committee. A second list of chemicals was selected as tier 2 for the next review. The EPA also established a universe of chemicals and general validation principles in November 2012. (See endnotes 13, 14.) The EPA developed an Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program Comprehensive Management Plan in 2014. (See endnote 12.)

The program evaluates potential human and ecological effects from chemical exposures, and determines how these chemicals react with estrogen, androgen, and thyroid hormone-related processes. This includes pesticides, non-pesticide chemicals, contaminants, and mixtures of chemicals. The plan provides strategic guidance for all work between the years 2014 and 2019. However, it is evaluated on a yearly basis and redirected as necessary. It utilizes advanced computational toxicological methods, screening assays, and scientific validation for humans as well as animals, and uses a weight of evidence guidance technique to determine what chemicals need to be banned or limited. Risk assessments are done on all chemicals for humans as well as the ecological environment. The chemicals are prioritized so that the most dangerous can be dealt with immediately. The management structure is so set up that there is a constant flow of information and essential data from one group to another of the researchers to avoid duplication of effort and waste of time. Decision-making is done in a timely and highly competent manner based on science. A technical review process is built into all steps of the research on the chemicals. Cross agency communications and training programs have evolved. The end result will be the protection of humans and the ecological environment.

 
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