Chemically Speaking (Letter to the Editor)
It is ironic that environmental groups and Others jumped ship from the Environmental Protection Agency's food-quality advisory panel on the same day that President Clinton pre sented the National Medal of Science to Bruce Ames for his work on chemical risks, particularly pesticides ["7 Groups Quit Food Panel," Federal Page, April 18]. These groups think that the EPA is being too lenient when setting new pesticide standards. Dr. Ames's research dearly shows that the' EPA is more likely being too harsh.
Dr. Ames's research shows that 'pesticide residues at current exposure levels pose little, if any, risk to public, health. In fact, consuming large amounts of fruits and vegetables- even with pesticide residues—is old' best defense against cancer (in addi- tion to not. smoking). And, as De.' Ames has found, obsessing about syn- thetic chemicals makes little sense" given that 99.9 percent of the chemicals we consume are naturally occur-, ring at levels thousands of times that' of synthetic pesticides. In 1996, k, National Academy of Sciences study similarly found that "the great majority" of natural and synthetic chemicals! in our diet are present at levels "so low_ that they are unlikely to pose appreciable cancer risk."
Despite environmentalists' claims, the EPA is employing some of their faulty assumptions about pesticide risks, which could raise the price of ;produce and increase cancer rates by reducing produce consumption. these seven groups are truly interested''' in public health, they would stop" hyping scientifically unfounded claims.