Poisoning For Dollars

Ever been so strapped for cash that you'd swallow pesticide for $460? That's what dozens of college-age Nebraskans did in 1998 after reading a school-newspaper ad urging students to "earn extra money." They called 402-474-PAYS, signed a seven-page consent form and popped a pill loaded with the active ingredient in Raid roach spray. Dow AgroSciences commissioned the trial to vouch for the safety of one of its top-selling bug killers, chlorpyrifos.

Clearly, clinical trials are not just for doctors anymore. Chemical companies like Dow got into the business after Congress passed the 1996 Food Quality Protection Act, which tightened safety standards...

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