WASHINGTON (FNS) -- The Clinton administration is proposing a broad plan to protect the world's food supply by banning the export of pesticides canceled for health reasons in the United States.
In recent testimony before the House Subcommittee on Economic Policy, Trade and the Environment, Carol Browner, Environmental Protection Agency administrator, said the admin-
istration had devised a four-point program to ban dangerous pesticide exports in an attempt to ensure safer food imports into the United States. It has been learned that pesticides exported from the United States often are applied on crops grown in other countries, and then the tainted food is imported into the United States.
Under the administration's plan, pesticides banned in the United States could not be exported; pesticides not approved for U.S. use could only be exported if they were deemed safe by other countries; technical assistance will be made available to developing countries, and the United States would work with other countries to protect the environment from pesticides that pose an unacceptable risk.
"The proposals set forth call for tighter export controls and expanded EPA authority to address human health and environmental safety issues concerning our pesticide exports," Browner testified.
The tougher policy was welcomed on Capitol Hill. Rep. Sam Gejdenson, subcommittee chairman, called the plan "a major step forward in the circle-of-poison debate."
The current plan is even tougher than a plan put forth by the administration last September that would have banned the export of a narrow class of pesticides and would have imposed additional requirements on other pesticide exports.
The new proposal would set stringent restrictions on exports of unregistered pesticides. The United States also would mandate that business comply with the International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides. This code would require manufacturers to track the use of their product and keep a record of complaints. EPA plans to seek an additional $4 million to enforce its new pesticide regulation proposal.
The United States is a major exporter of pesticides. The world production of pesticides is about 4 billion pounds of active ingredients, while the U.S. net supply is about 1 billion pounds. About 0.4 billion pounds of pesticides are exported from the United States, representing about one third of the total U.S. production.