Getting Practical About Pesticides

Clinton's eco-team grapples with an inflexible 35-year-old law that bans carcinogens in food

No one could blame the save-the-earth brigade for feeling a bit confused last week. There was Carol Browner, eco-hero Al Gore's personally approved choice to head the Environmental Protection Agency, coming to the defense of 35 pesticides that potentially cause cancer. Arguing that they actually pose little threat to human health since they are consumed in extremely minute amounts, she seemed poised to ask Congress to relax one of America's oldest and most stringent food-safety laws so that farmers could keep applying the chemicals to crops.

Or maybe not. After environmental activists raised a ruckus, Browner released a Clintonesque statement: "Right...

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