Skip To Content
Pesticide Safety Education Program (PSEP)
Part of the Pesticide Management Education Program
Skip Navigation LinksPSEP > Issues > Upcoming NAS Report on Pesticides
Upcoming NAS Report on Pesticides

Upcoming NAS Report on Pesticides

June 24, 1993
Electronic Mail Memorandum

TO: Food Safety Rapid Response Contacts
Communication Heads
PAT Coordinators
IPM Coordinators
NAPIAP Liaisons
FROM: Elizabeth L. Andress, NPL, Food Science and Chair, Food Safety & Quality Initiative
Judith A. Bowers, Head, Public Affairs, CIT
John Impson, NPL, PAT
Mike Fitzner, NPL, IPM
Dennis Kopp, NPL, NAPIAP


The National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) will release its report on pesticides in the diets of infants and children at a news conference on June 29 at 10:00 am EDT. It is expected that this report and related issues will generate considerable media coverage.

This report will summarize the findings and recommendations from a NRC study initiated in 1988 at the request of Congress and with the support of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. A volunteer expert committee was established jointly under the Commission on Life Sciences, Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology, and the Board on Agriculture. The committee was charged with examining science and policy issues faced by regulatory agencies, particularly EPA, in the regulation of exposure to pesticide residues in the diets of infants and children. All NRC reports are reviewed by a panel of experts independent from the authoring committee.

ES-USDA will not be able to provide comments on the content of the report until after its release and review. However, we are providing you with background information about Extension pesticide programs and pesticide regulation. When official statements from USDA and other federal agencies are available, we will share them with you.

If you haven't already done so, we suggest that you pull together a team of specialists in your state to share relevant information and develop a strategy for your response to news and consumer inquiries. The following suggestions and ideas may help you in this effort:

  • This report will focus attention on the health and feeding of children as well as pesticide regulation and use. Food safety, nutrition, IPM, PAT, NAPIAP and agricultural specialists will probably all be asked for comments by various groups. Keep in mind that for much of the general population, nutritionists have high credibility on matters of food safety and health, even though everyone has contributions to make in developing messages.

  • We suggest that a key message to convey is that Extension provides farm-based IPM programs that develop management options that, in many cases, have led to a reduction in pesticide usage. You might want to focus on the IPM program in your state, which could be of particular interest to media who contact you.

  • The PAT Coordinator in your state should have up to date background information on how pesticides are regulated.

  • A few months ago, the primary contact for food and nutrition specialists at each institution received a folder of information from Gerber Products Company that focuses on Gerber's pesticide elimination program and its quality assurance initiative related to pesticide residues. While we are not endorsing Gerber's products or program, it does exemplify the food industry's efforts to protect children's health.

  • You have several other resources supplied to various specialists in your state over the past few years that can provide background information for communicating about the risks from and regulation of agricultural chemicals.

    • In May 1992, Extension food and nutrition specialists were sent a copy of the publication, "Similarities and Differences Between Children and Adults: Implications for Risk Assessment." This publication is the proceedings of a November 1990 symposium held by the EPA and the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI). The proceedings stress the importance of differences when conducting risk assessments for foods, pesticides, drugs and other substances.

    • "Regulating Pesticides in Food: The Delaney Paradox" was released by the NRC in 1987. There has been considerable controversy, including disagreement over the way estimates of oncogenic risks were determined in this study. The report does, however, contain some useful summaries of current pesticide regulatory laws.

    • "Improving Risk Communication", 1989, was also a report of the NRC. It covers what is known about successful risk communication and makes some recommendations.

    • When the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) released its report on risks from ALAR (R) in 1989, you received some background information about pesticide laws and known risks.

    • Carl Winter, Extension Food Toxicologist, California, has sent some information on risk assessment and pesticide residues and children to food and nutrition specialists who participate in an electronic discussion mail group. You may contact him electronically at

    • Some of you may have received a question and answer sheet related to the upcoming NAS report from the National Agricultural Chemicals Association.

We expect to have some EPA fact sheets about pesticide regulation, registration and tolerances available through Almanac by the end of the week; you will receive a message telling you how to access them.

This information is being provided to increase awareness of news activities and materials of various groups that may influence food safety and quality and pesticide education and IPM programs. No endorsement is intended.

If anyone has related information to share with us, please let us know. Thank you.


Program Overview: Integrated Pest Management
Summary of Extension Pesticide Applicator Training (PAT) Programs

Program Overview: Integrated Pest Management

Cooperative Extension System

Mike Fitzner
National Program Leader, IPM, ES-USDA
  • Began with two pilot projects in 1971 (tobacco--NC; cotton--AZ).

  • Programs now funded in 50 states and 6 territories; 450 full-time equivalents supported.

  • Over 100 program areas specifically targeted with 900 IPM programs--everything from livestock, alfalfa and strawberries to urban IPM programs.

  • Over 11 million acres cropland impacted each year.

  • 11,000 scouts and 45,000 producers trained. In total, Extension staff directly influence the pest management strategies used by more than 150,000 producers.

  • A major objective is to reduce or eliminate unnecessary pesticide applications to fruits, vegetables, field crops, and the urban landscape.

  • Some activities planned for fiscal 1994 include:

    1. continued incorporation of biological controls and other nonchemical management alternatives into IPM education and delivery programs;

    2. increased support for on-farm IPM validation trials and demonstrations conducted by State and county Extension staff;

    3. development of a core national training program to educate public and private IPM practitioners, State and county extension staffs and staff from other government agencies, and farmers, ranchers and homeowners about IPM principles and strategies;

    4. regional and national evaluations that document the economic and environmental benefits of IPM so that this information can be used to demonstrate the advantages of IPM to U.S. agricultural producers; and

    5. more urban IPM programs that educate homeowners, commercial turf and ornamental pest control operators, institutional and golf course managers responsible for turf and ornamental pest management, and commercial growers and dealers of turf and ornamental plants about IPM strategies.

  • Extension IPM programs contribute to several other programs:

  • Sustainable NPL Food Science/Food Safety

Phone: 720-6962
Fax: 690-2469
John W. Impson
National Program Leader-PAT