RITE: Developed after researching original pesticide studies
An example of why the RITE 10 demands framework is urgently required, is the World Health Organisation study that gives global citizens their recommended daily intake (ADI or RfD) of glyphosate, commonly known as Roundup.
This study is a 26 year old private, unpublished, Cheminova study hidden from the public by commercial confidentiality agreements. It was confirmed during the 2004 Toxicological Evaluations following trials that showed higher residues when glyphosate, in the form of the stronger full formulation Roundup, was sprayed on wheat, barley and oats and on animal forage. (Outlined in the FAO Plant Production and Protection Paper - Pesticide residues in food – 2005. ) Industry found a new way to desiccate, dry down crops before harvesting and milling, which increased the use of a popular product. In 2006 Codex raised the ADI to ensure the cumulative exposure from the new maximum residues would still be under the ADI. This may explain why beer, honey, breast milk, cereals and more - now contains Roundup.
Independent scientists recognise the levels we consume may be vastly underestimated. They also recognise that by not assessing the full formulation, at environmentally relevant concentrations, regulators are avoiding considering the greater toxic potential of this widely applied substance.
Myers J P et al (2016). Concerns over use of glyphosate-based herbicides and risks associated with exposures: a consensus statement. Environmental Health 15(19). DOI 10.1186/s12940-016-0117-0.
The case of glyphosate based herbicides is just the start of it. The very tip of the iceberg.
Jodie Bruning & RITE - a Requirement for Independent Toxicity Evaluations
New Zealand based writer and researcher Jodie Bruning (B.Bus.Agribusiness Monash University Australia) established the site SafeSaysWho.com in 2012 in an effort to understand whether the pesticides studies held with 3 assessment agencies - the US EPA, WHO and European Commission - were safe. Were they independent, transparent, and up to date? Were permitted residues levels on our food as a result of toxicity studies declared at the lowest safe levels? What did the studies actually research?
RITE is a consequence of this investigation. SafeSaysWho.com identified the fundamental flaws and failures of the 3 pesticide toxicity assessment systems from an international perspective. It revealed that the entire system favours industry, is overtly biased and hampered by outdated science and guidelines. It is built on a limited budgetary and economic base which neatly facilitates industry capture of the regulatory system.
RITE provides the framework to fix it.
Most researchers and scientists work within their own countries or regions to advocate for change within their own broken assessment organisations. For example independent scientists, the public, members of parliament and public interest organisations in Europe are currently lobbying EFSA to make many of the same changes to the European assessment standards that are included in the 10 demands of RITE. RITE worked with European scientists and researchers to shape the 10 demands and produce the safest and most practical guidelines possible.
RITE framework, or guidelines are not currently utilised by the three dominant agencies that assess pesticide toxicity throughout the world. But importantly, the countries that depend on these agencies then, like dominoes falling, cannot properly address public health risk when they adopt these prominent agency assessments. The same model that fails to protect the public interest repeats itself on every continent. These agencies are our gatekeepers, but their decisions are framed in financially restricted opaque regulatory environments, rely on hidden data, and are facilitated by cosy relationships with the same industry that is dependent on a favourable outcome.
The model is repeated in regulatory agency, after regulatory agency. This model works perfectly well for industry.
It's time it worked well for the most vulnerable - our pregnant mothers, our babies, our children and our adolescents. Our baseline should be ecosystem health, rather than short-term economic trade-offs.
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