Dow Chemical Pesticide Data fooled EPA

Dow Chemical company fooled the EPA for years with falsified data. U.S. regulators relied on the data provided by Dow to clear the company for continued sales of the toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos. The false data allowed Dow to continue exposing Americans to unsafe levels of chlorpyrifos for decades. Researchers from the University of Washington presented the damning new analysis last month.

The UW analysis reexamines work sponsored by Dow in the 1970s that was later submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA used the data to establish what scientists refer to as a “no-observed-adverse-effect-level” or NOAEL. EPA uses thresholds such as NOAEL to learn what types of uses are safe, or what levels of a chemical’s exposure can be allowed and still be considered “safe.”

Published online July 3, 2020 in the journal Environmental International, the inaccurate findings resulted from a chlorpyrifos dosing study run in the early 1970s for Dow.  Researcher Frederick Coulston and colleagues from the Albany Medical College ran the study.

Journalist Carey Gillam – author of Whitewash, a damning expose on Monsanto and its cancer-causing Roundup – reported that authors of the new paper reexamining Coulston’s group’s work are Lianne Sheppard, Seth McGrew and Richard Fenske. They are affiliated with the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, School of Public Health at the University of Washington.

Dow Study not Peer Reviewed

Dow’s dubious study was authored by the Coulston group, while its analysis was concocted by a Dow statistician. Dow’s man erroneously (purposefully or otherwise) concluded that 0.03 mg/kg-day was the chronic NOAEL level for chlorpyrifos in humans. The new analysis by the UW researchers, however, found that Dow wildly overstated the margin of safety. The UW team concluded that if the study had been properly analyzed, it would have found a lower NOAEL of 0.014 mg/kg-day. That’s the difference between “safe” and “unsafe,” even by the EPA’s highly questionable “standards,” which virtually always favor industry and higher levels of toxicity than most reasonable people would abide.

Though the EPA knew that the Coulston study never underwent peer review, the agency nonetheless used it for risk assessments throughout much of the 1980′s and 1990′s.

The UW researchers concluded: “During that period, EPA allowed chlorpyrifos to be registered for multiple residential uses that were later cancelled to reduce potential health impacts to children and infants. Had appropriate analyses been employed in the evaluation of this study, it is likely that many of those registered uses of chlorpyrifos would not have been authorized by EPA. This work demonstrates that reliance by pesticide regulators on research results that have not been properly peer-reviewed may needlessly endanger the public.”

Chlorpyrifos’ History

Dow Chemical introduced chlorpyrifos in 1965. It is best known as the named active ingredient in the brand name Lorsban. This toxic chemical has been sprayed on many food crops for decades. Non-organic corn compromises the largest agricultural market for chlorpyrifos. Other chlorpyrifos-poisoned foods include soybeans, fruit and nut trees, Brussels sprouts, cranberries, cauliflower, and many other row crops. Chlorpyrifos residues are ubiquitous in many foods. Chrlopyrifos is also used for many non-agricultural uses, including golf courses, turf, green houses, and utilities.

Independent scientific research has long shown mounting evidence of chlorpyrifos’ dangers. Young children and those developing in the womb are most at risk. Scientists have linked prenatal exposures to chlorpyrifos with several developmental problems, including:

  • lower birth weight
  • reduced IQ
  • loss of working memory
  • attention disorders
  • delayed motor development.

The American Academy for Pediatrics’ Chlorpyrifos Warning

The American Academy for Pediatrics — representing more than 66,000 pediatricians and pediatric surgeons —  has warned that continued use of Chlorpyrifos puts developing fetuses, infants, children and pregnant women at great risk.

Chlorpyrifos Unsafe at Any Level

The European Food Safety Authority has stated that there is no safe exposure level for chlorpyrifos.

The EPA reached an agreement with Dow in 2000 to phase out all residential uses of the chemical. Research has shown chlorpyrifos is dangerous to the developing brains of babies and to young children. Chlorpyrifos was banned from use around public schools in 2012.

Chlorpyrifos Slow Phase Out

Facing mounting pressure from consumer, medical, and scientific groups, as well as calls for bans from around the world, Corteva AgriScience, a successor corporation to a merger of Dow and DuPont, said it would phase out chlorpyrifos production. Nevertheless, it remains legal for other companies to make and sell.

Human “Study” Subjects poisoned with Chlorpyrifos

The study that is the subject of the new paper by the University of Washington researchers was overseen in 1971 by the Albany Medical College’s Institute of Experimental Pathology and Toxicology. The study used 16 healthy adult males from a pool of “volunteers” serving time at a maximum-security prison in Dannemora, New York.

The men were randomized into four experimental groups, including one control group, whose members received a daily placebo. Over a course of 63 days, members of the three poisoned groups received daily chlorpyrifos doses of varying degrees.

The new analysis found the study rife with problems. Among the most egregious, it omitted eight valid baseline measurements for one of the three treatment groups.

Dow’s Ethical Violations, Research Misconduct

The UW researchers concluded: “Such an omission of valid data (is) a form of data falsification that violates all standard codes of ethical research practice and is classified as outright research misconduct.”

The researchers said chlorpyrifos passed through the regulatory process with little debate, “despite “growing evidence that it might pose a health hazard in residential environments.”

Further, the UW paper concluded: “The Coulston Study misled regulators by omitting valid data,” and “may have adversely impacted public health.” for several years.

As with Monsanto’s cancer-causing Roundup, safety studies sponsored by the same companies that profit from the poisons they sell tend to favor the profit makers. Sooner or later, the truth comes out, as it has with Roundup and Chlorpyrifos. Sadly, fraudulent studies such as this one by Dow become just as toxic as the poisons they seek to promote.

Dow Chemical Pesticide Data fooled EPA

In the end, it is the companies which are sued for the poisons they dump on the world. At some point, however, one begins to wonder whether scientists who help perpetuate these toxic frauds should also face liability. Companies like Dow and Monsanto (now Bayer) would not be able to profit from toxic pesticides they produce without the help of compromised scientists like those who ran the dubious Coulston Study and those who misrepresented or falsified its results.