irod leveledben, hogy rendkivul alultajekozott vagy az ugyben, hogyan
transzportalodnak a szerves halovegyuletek. Ez azonban nem akadalyoz meg
abban, hogy allandoan ketsegbe vond az altalam idezetteket. >Ne tessek
viccelni..> Miert kersz hat meg bizonyitekot, miert tobb cikket? Minek??
Az olajszennyezes nem a legnagyobb katasztrofak koze tartozik, mert a
bidegradacio rendkivul jo es gyors (kb. 3 ev alatt tekintelyes resze
lebomlik). Ellenben az olaj egy hidrofob feluletet biztosit olyan
szennyezoanyagok megkotesere, mint a DDT..
Legujabb informacioim a DDT-vel kapcsolatban:
Az USA nagy vegyszergyarai nem gyartanak DDT, mert penzugyileg nem erne
meg nekik kis mennyiseget termelni. Ellenben a kisebb vallalatokrol ez
Olaszorszagban ma is gyartanak DDT, melyet az afrikai orszagokba
Kinaban koztudottan hasznalnak DDT-t.
Bulgariaban a vegyszer- es hulladek-lerakohelyeken ket eves vizsgalat
(1994-95) alapjan a DDT koncentraciojat 2,10 g/kg-nek (szaraz tomeg) merte
egy bolgar kutatono a talaj felso 40 cm-es retegeben.(!!)
Svajcban tiltott pesticideket -pl. atrazin, (DDT-t nem)-, a svajci
vegyszercegek nagy mennyisegben gyartanak exportra..
Az informaciokat egy konferencia alatt gyujtottem be. Vagy elhiszed vagy
THIS IS THE FIRST COLUMN IN A SERIES OF THREE BASED ON WARGO'S
BOOK AND THE NEW FOOD PROTECTION LAW. I'VE TRIED TO MAKE THEM EACH
SELF-STANDING, BUT THEY ALSO FLOW TOGETHER, I HOPE.
FAREWELL TO THE DELANEY AMENDMENT
Over centuries we have written innumerable laws to protect ourselves from each
other's foolishness, negligence, incompetence, or evil. Few of those laws
forbid anything absolutely. Murder we can get away with, in self-defense or
insanity. We can build on floodplains, if we really want to. The law is
strict about robbing banks, but there are plenty of legal ways to rob the
public treasury. Most environmental laws allow us to poison people just a bit,
as long as we claim to create an economic benefit in the process.
But there were until recently two laws that said flatly No, this you cannot do.
One was the Endangered Species Act, which didn't let you push a creature into
extinction. The other was the "Delaney amendment," which forbade you from
adding to foods anything that might cause cancer.
Hated by industry but loved by the public, these laws withstood steady attack
by lobbyists, until recently. In this column I won't go into the many ways
Congress sweeps aside the Endangered Species Act. What I want to do is mark
the passing of the Delaney amendment.
The Delaney clause, named after Congressman James Delaney of New York and
tacked onto the Federal Food, Drugs, and Cosmetic Act in 1958, said, "the
Secretary [of the Food and Drug Administration] shall not approve for use in
food any chemical additive found to induce cancer in man, or, after tests,
found to induce cancer in animals." Not any. Zero.
>From the beginning this dictum conflicted with another law, the Federal
Insecticide, Rodenticide, and Fungicide Act (FIFRA), passed in 1947. FIFRA
could not allow the concept of zero. Pesticides must by their nature and
purpose be spread around in large quantities. FIFRA assumed that we can
administer a dose lethal to the pest but harmless to the applicator and to
anyone who might encounter pesticide-tainted air, soil, water, or food.
Delaney assumed that the only safe dose is zero.
Congress papered over that inconsistency by saying that pesticide residues are
not food additives. Under FIFRA the Agriculture Department (and later EPA) was
supposed to set safe levels of pesticide residues in apples or tomatoes.
Therefore the Food and Drug Administration (where Delaney resided) shouldn't
have to worry about them.
Congress did realize a problem, however, with processed foods. Suppose apples
are made into juice, or tomatoes are boiled down into paste. Processing could
concentrate pesticides into higher amounts than the (assumed safe) raw food
tolerances. So, in one of those strange things that bureaucracies do, Congress
specified that in any processed food, if a pesticide becomes concentrated
beyond its permitted level in the raw food, then suddenly it becomes a food
additive. If it is a carcinogen (which at least 75 pesticides are), it falls
under the Delaney zero. So a pesticide may be permitted at 7 parts per million
in the apple, but if it goes up to 8 parts per million in the sauce, then the
sauce cannot be sold.
You can see why pesticide makers and farmers and food processors did not like
this law. Predictably, they found many ways around it.
They pressed regulators to set high permissible pesticide levels in raw foods,
so processed foods wouldn't exceed them and trigger Delaney. They made sure
regulating agencies were weakly administered and poorly funded so that, for
instance, they never compiled good data on how much concentration actually
happens during food processing. They got into a snarl about how much residue
can be detected by laboratory instruments. No lab method can prove a
concentration of zero, so the FDA decided that a test was good enough if it
could find enough pesticide to cause, say, one cancer in a million people.
So much for the standard of zero.
Over the years hard-fought cases moved policy concerning chemicals in our foods
farther away from zero. Diethylstilbestrol in animal feeds was permitted at
first under the assumption that it didn't pass into milk or meat; later it was
forbidden, as better lab tests found it there. Saccharine was to be banned but
under public protest was allowed to stay on the market. Carcinogens that move
from plastic packaging into foods were allowed, as long as the risk is
What evolved was a sloppy policy, based not on zero risk, but on an unclear
balance between assumed risk and assumed benefit. The huge uncertainties
behind this policy are thoroughly described in a new book by John Wargo, called
Our Children's Toxic Legacy (Yale University Press).
Wargo sums up the conclusions of a National Academy of Sciences study that
tried to assess thirty years of the Delaney clause: "... confusing and
contradictory legal standards, a virtual nightmare of inadequate data, ... and
the absence of any strategic plan for managing or reducing levels of risk....
Clearly, neither the EPA nor the academy knew the extent of carcinogenic risks
from pesticides in foods."
The current Congress and president were just the combination needed to do away
at last with the Delaney clause. It expired quietly this summer, when the
president signed the "Food Quality Protection Act of 1996." Its demise was a
symbolic victory for industry, which had actually won the war against zero
tolerance long ago.
It's probably just as well that the clear, brave language of Delaney no longer
stands to deceive us into thinking that our food supply is risk-free. How much
risk there really is, no one knows. How much there will be in the future
depends on the new food safety law, and, we must hope, even better ones to
More on that next week.
(Donella H. Meadows is an adjunct professor of environmental studies at