Food Quality Protection Act Of 1996 – H.R. 1627 The Food Quality Protection Act of 1996 (H.R. 1627) The Food Quality Protection Act of 1996 or H.R.1627 was introduced by Representative Thomas Bliley (R) on May 12, 1996. It was supported by 243 co-sponsors. The bill was reported to the House of Representatives after receiving an 18-0 vote in Committee of Agriculture. The House of Representatives voted unanimously in favor of the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996.
The next day the measure was considered by the Senate, and also passed with unanimous vote. The bill was then signed by President Clinton on July 24, 1996 and become Public Law 104-170 on August 3, 1996 (Detailed Legislative History). It has been said the bill would have died in the Senate if it had been held over just one day loner due to rapidly mounting panic and opposition from some major players in the pesticide industry. This would been a major loss considering Congressman Bliley had been fighting for this reform legislation since the 102nd Congress (Sray 49 ). The Food Quality Protection Act of 1996 amends the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenicide Act that had been a burden to both growers and consumers.
The bill Requires the Environmental Protection Agency to develop uniform standards in setting all chemical tolerances allowed in food. The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency must determine if the tolerance is safe, meaning there is reasonable certainty that no harm will result from aggregate exposure to the pesticide chemical residue, and any other type of exposure there is reliable information on (Sray 49). The bill requires all pesticides to be re-registered under the guidelines that determine if they should be used or not. The three guidelines for re-registration are the aggregate effects of a pesticide, the common mode of toxicology, and the effects on infants and children. The first guideline, aggregate effects of a pesticide, is the total lifetime exposure a person will have to a chemical.
This includes non-food exposure, which is something that was not included in the past legislation. The next guideline is common mode of toxicity, which makes the Environmental Protection Agency look at the cumulative exposure of all pesticides not just specific ones. The last guideline is the effects of pesticides on infants and children. There are new safety requirements that must be met regarding the amount of exposure that is safe for infants and children (Sray 49). Overall the Bill requires the Environmental Protection Agency to look at every chemical used on food and determine if it is safe to use. The Bill gives incentives to chemical companies who develop new less harmful chemicals.
It also gives allowances to minor crops that are not as profitable as large commodities. It allows the minor crops to have a longer grace period for development and implementation of these new laws (Sray 49). Proponents of this Bill consists of environmental groups, many childrens health organizations, and as the voting proved all of Congress and the President. Vice President Al Gore who has supported this bill since its beginning said the law brings the latest science to the supermarket (Waterfield C2). Gore was involved in hearings on the subject fifteen years ago and was happy the reform Bill finally passed (WaterfieldC2).
Supporters believe the old legislation was a crisis waiting to happen, and with the new Food Quality Protection Act children and consumers in general will be much safer. Childrens groups are especially happy with the new focus on the level of chemical residue in many foods that children eat. This is important because children differ in their exposure to toxic chemicals. Children spend much of their time crawling around on the ground and putting their hands in their mouth, therefore exposing themselves to much toxic chemicals than the average adult. In the United States one million children are exposed to unsafe levels of pesticides in fruit, vegetables, or baby food every year, according to a report by the Environmental Working Group (Grossfield B1). Children also breathe differently. A one year old child breathes 50% more air each minute relative to their weight than do adults (Reigart D3). Supporters believe this new law would limit the amount of chemical residue a child is exposed to throughout its lifetime.
Proponents of the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996 believe that the risk to farm workers and their families will be greatly reduced. One Hundred Thousand farm workers are treated annually for pesticide related illness according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers (Grossfeild B1). Proponents believe the research conducted due to the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996 would reduce the treat of illness to the farm worker. Environmentalist also support this law, because it makes chemical companies provide data regarding the toxic life the many chemical and the re-registration of all chemicals. The re-registration is very important to environmental groups, because new research has been done that shows many chemicals that could potentially be harmful were not restricted in the old laws. The new law will require every chemical to be looked at and determined if it is harmful or not.
Farm chemical organizations and many farmers oppose this bill mainly for two reasons. The first being the vagueness in the way that the bill is written. Chemical companies believe how the Environmental Protection Agency implements the Food Quality Protection Act will critically impact the future of key pesticides vital to maintaining a safe and abundant food supply. Opponents believe there is no way to accurately measure the long term effects of these chemicals and the Food Quality Protection Act requires them to do this, which is next to impossible (Sray 49). Alan Schreiber of the Agrichemical Environmental News says, the most unsettling aspect of the this legislation is what we do not know about it. He calls the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996 the Trojan iceberg.
Like the Trojan horse, I has several desirable characteristics, however just as 90% of the iceberg cannot be seen so will the impact of the Food Protection Act of 1996 (Schreiber 21). The second reason for farmers and chemical producers opposition to this law is the effect it will have on small crops. They believe this law will limit or in some cases eliminate some pesticides used in small crops. Small crops dont make enough money to fund research and development on new, safe chemicals. Therefore limiting the choices growers have, which greatly affect that industry.
I feel that I stand somewhere in the middle on this issue. It has many strong points both in favor and against. I believe that the re-registration of chemicals is very important, and I also believe it would be helpful to fully understand these pesticides effect on humans over a long period of time. I wonder if it is possible to obtain accurate information due to so many different variables. Improper application, over exposure, and misuse are things that should be taken into consideration when determining if a chemical is safe to use.
Many times we often only look at the surface on issues such as this. I do think it is a good idea to regulate pesticides in a way that is the most beneficial to consumers, but I also believe that if this regulation is not carried out properly, farmers consumers, and everyone will be greatly affected. This law can help people, but is also can hurt many farmers by placing unrealistic expectations of having perfectly safe pesticides. California alone produces 20% of the worlds food and without these chemicals this would not be possible. Pesticides, although harmful in some cases are overall beneficial to California agriculture and the world. Myself growing up on a farm I understand how important these chemicals are to making a living,and producing the best product possible.
I also realize the need for new safety measure for the chemicals. I believe that the Food Protection Act of 1996 meets both of these issues rather well. If impemeted properly the Food Protection Act of 1996 can benefit farmers, chemical companies, children, families, and the world. Political Issues.