Tobacco Industry Weakened Pesticide Regulations, UCSF Study Shows

By Janet Basu, UCSF News Services | September 15, 2005

The tobacco industry coordinated cross-industry campaigns to delay and weaken federal and international regulations on pesticide use, according to new findings by UCSF researchers.

The findings are reported in a study and commentary posted online at the pre-publication website of Environmental Health Perspectives, the journal of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. The information will be published in a future issue of the journal.

Based on an analysis of internal tobacco company documents, the article outlines evidence that the tobacco industry hired ex-agency scientists to intervene in federal Environmental Protection Agency decision-making, hired a consultant to influence World Health Organization pesticide regulatory deliberations without revealing his industry ties, and staged a useless test aimed at convincing regulators that no further restrictions were needed to control an especially deadly pesticide, among other actions.

The authors point to the need for broader reform of the regulatory process to prevent abuses such as these in the future.

"This shows that the tobacco industry's influence on our nation's health extends far beyond policies directly concerned with smoking or cigarettes," said Ruth Malone, RN, PhD, associate professor in the UCSF School of Nursing and senior author on the study.

Read more at Janet Basu, UCSF News Services