Food Quality Protection Act Of 1996

– H.R. 1627 Essay, Research Paper

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 children?s 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. Children?s

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 don?t 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.

Grossfield, Stan. (Putting Poisons in the Fields; Safeguarding What We Eat.) The Boston

Globe 20 September 1998:B1

Reigart, Routt. (Don?t Wait For a Crisis) The Oregonian 10 October 1998:D3

Schreiber, Alan. ?The Food Quality Protection Act: A Trojan iceberg.? Agrichemical and

Environmental News Aug. 1996:21.

Sray, Al. ?Turning Politics into Policy.? Farm Chemicals Dec. 1996:49.

United States. Library of Congress.?Detailed Legislative Status of H.R.1627.? 104th

Congress. Thomas. 20 September 1999..

Waterfield, Larry. (Bill called a boon to consumers.) The Packer 12 August 1996:C2


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