Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Flawed Pesticide Studies Using Human Subjects Could Result In Higher Allowable Exposures For Both Children And Adults

Date:
November 29, 2004
Source:
University At Buffalo
Summary:
Studies using human subjects to determine a "no observable effect level" of pesticides do not meet widely accepted scientific and ethical standards for research and should not be used to set new standards, according to a scathing analysis published in the November issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Studies using human subjects to determine a "no observable effect level" of pesticides do not meet widely accepted scientific and ethical standards for research and should not be used to set new standards, according to a scathing analysis published in the November issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

A review of six studies obtained from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Freedom of Information Act and conducted by Alan H. Lockwood, M.D., professor of neurology and nuclear medicine at the University at Buffalo, found the studies flawed by conflict of interest, failure to meet ethical standards established by the Declaration of Helsinki, unacceptable informed consent procedures, inadequate statistical power and inappropriate test methods and end points.

All studies were funded by pesticide manufacturers, and all ethics committees responsible for approving the study protocols were part of the contract research organizations paid by the company to conduct the studies, he found.

Lockwood co-chairs the Environment and Health Committee of the national Physicians for Social Responsibility, but undertook this analysis on his own. The motivation behind these industry-sponsored human-dosing studies is clear, he said.

"The industries want to abolish, or at least reduce, the interspecies uncertainty factor and thereby convince the EPA to accept higher tolerances, which would benefit the industries financially," Lockwood added.

The interspecies uncertainty factor extrapolates the risk to humans, based on data from animal studies. It assumes that humans may be 10-fold more sensitive than the animal model, and that children may be 100-fold more sensitive. If results of these human studies are accepted as adequate by the EPA, the concentration of pesticides in food might increase.

"To accept these studies would open the door to other poorly conducted studies and would violate the principal that those who engage in unethical activity should not reap rewards," Lockwood stated in his analysis. He discussed pesticides Nov. 12 on the National Public Radio program "Science Friday."

The analysis by Lockwood found several significant deviations from accepted ethical and scientific standards in the reports submitted to the EPA:

- None of the study results appear in the scientific literature, indicating they were not conducted to advance generalizable scientific knowledge, the accepted criterion for scientific studies.

- The studies' "failure to preserve the accuracy of results" violated the Declaration of Helsinki, which all studies claimed to use as their ethical standard.

- None of the study protocols were reviewed by committees "independent of the investigator, the sponsor or any other kind of undue influence," as required by the Declaration of Helsinki.

- Not all studies told participants why the study was being conducted or how the results would be used. Two identified the pesticide only as "the compound under test." One neglected to mention the most serious consequences, including death, of large amounts of the pesticide and implied that participants who withdrew for nonmedical reasons might not be paid, a condition amounting to coercion.

- The studies lack full risk-benefit information; one study neglected to mention a report that found hospitalizations and stillbirths resulting from overexposure to its product.

- All studies used too few participants, were too short to yield meaningful results and employed young healthy adults, who are least susceptible to pesticide effects.

- None of the studies of these chemicals, which act on the central nervous system, used tests sensitive enough to detect small effects on brain function.

"Society has reaped enormous benefits from the use of pesticides," said Lockwood. "However, they are inherently toxic and great care is required as new standards are adopted, particularly those that govern childhood pesticide exposures. For this reason, these and similar pesticide safety studies should be reviewed by scientific committees whose members are not influenced by politics or financial conflicts of interest."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University At Buffalo. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University At Buffalo. "Flawed Pesticide Studies Using Human Subjects Could Result In Higher Allowable Exposures For Both Children And Adults." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 November 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041129113201.htm>.
University At Buffalo. (2004, November 29). Flawed Pesticide Studies Using Human Subjects Could Result In Higher Allowable Exposures For Both Children And Adults. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041129113201.htm
University At Buffalo. "Flawed Pesticide Studies Using Human Subjects Could Result In Higher Allowable Exposures For Both Children And Adults." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041129113201.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins