Coalition Demands Federal Investigation on EPA Reversal of Malathion


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                                                

A coalition of environmentalists, health professionals, and other concerned citizens are demanding that the Inspector General of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)  investigate the influence of Cheminova, the manufacturer of malathion, on the sudden reversal of the EPA’s report that malathion is not a low level carcinogen. Joyce Shepard, President of Citizens' Action Committee for Change, said that members of the coalition have contacted U.S. Senator Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton requesting an investigation and Congressional and Senate hearings on the EPA's sudden reversal and conflict of interest between chemical companies and the agency. Former high profile officials of the EPA are presently Lobbyists for Cheminova, Monsanto and other chemical companies.

EPA's web site announces that malathion is a “carcinogen.” However, Cheminova met behind closed doors with EPA officials and emerged victorious in having the report reversed. Toxicologists provided EPA with research done in the U.S. and Poland revealing that malathion is a carcinogen and causes irreversible DNA damage to the fetus. An investigation  will uncover whether the EPA took these studies into account.

New York City residents, many whose children were made ill by the last year’s spraying of malathion and other neurotoxins refuse to accept the EPA's overnight reversal and will protest by calling and writing to their representatives requesting an investigation. Elizabeth Shanklin, coordinator of the New York City Green Party's Campaign, and Joyce Shepard have called for the resignation of Health Commissioner Neal Cohen, who has admitted that his agency, NYC DOH did not alert hospitals or physicians in NYC on the symptoms of pesticide poisoning or gather data of possible cases from hospitals and other medical professionals. At a NYC Council Health Committee hearing, Cohen did not hesitate to say that his "data showed no harmful effects" from the spraying.  Shanklin states that "New Yorkers should not accept a Health Commissioner who refuses to collect data and then pretends that his conclusions are scientifically based. This Commissioner's pretense shows him to be disingenuous with a callous disregard for the people whose health he is paid to protect."  Shepard and medical doctors have documentation to show that the policies  the Commissioner initiated have harmed the health of the people in this city." Ms.Shanklin, Ms. Shepard, scientists and professionals throughout the country agree that Carol Browner, EPA's administrator,and Patricia Moe, Program Director have been  remiss for years in protecting the environment and should also resign from their posts or be dismissed.

The Green Party and Citizens’ Action Committee For Change along with other organizations are organizing  grass roots People's Forums  to be held in each borough. New Yorkers will be given the opportunity to testify about how they were affected by the fall spraying . Independent experts will critique EPA's  report and the City's present plan for mosquito control.  On April 13, the Commissioner of the NYC DOH asked the City Council to fund a plan to spray malathion and permethrin. Research shows that permethrin is also carcinogenic to the liver and lungs. Once again, the city is poised to expose millions of New Yorkers to toxic, cancer causing chemicals with neither public input nor programs to monitor the effects it will have on the chemically sensitive population. The coalition is waiting for a response from the elected officials they have contacted before taking further action.

Joyce Shepard, CSW
Citizens' Action Committee for Change
Telephone: 718-279-2069
Facsimile: 718-279-3281

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