Tufts OpenCourseware
Authors: Kathleen Merrigan, Ph.D., William Lockeretz, Ph.D.


  • Schierow, L.J., and E.H. Buck. Endocrine Disruption: An Introduction. 2001.
  • Environmental Working Group. The English Patients: Human Experiments and Pesticide Policy. no date.
  • New York Times articles, “Congress Calls for Strict Rules on Pesticide Testing of Humans” (7/28/05) and “Limits Sought on Testing for Pesticides” (6/30/05).
  • EPA website, Protection for Human Test Subjects, accessed 1/17/06.
  • Logomasini, A. Deploy DDT to fight malaria. CEI. 2002.
  • Repeto, R., and Baliga, S.S. Pesticides and the Immune System: The Public Health Risks, pp. 6-7. 1996.
  • Reeves, M. et al. Fields of Poison 2002. California Farmworkers and Pesticides. Executive Summary.
  • Environmental Working Group website. “Skin Deep,” accessed 1/17/06.
  • The Organic Center. Minimizing Pesticide Dietary Exposure Through Consumption of Organic Foods. May 2004.
  • CropLife America. CropLife Predicts FQPA Lawsuits Will Flood EPA.11/22/05.

Key Questions

Endocrine Disruption: An Introduction

  • What are endocrine disruptors?
  • Why is the topic of endocrine disruptors controversial?
  • What has been the response of the US Government to the debate on endocrine disruptors?

The English Patients

  • Does EPA require the pesticide industry to test their products on human subjects?
  • What is the agency (EPA) policy on tests on human subjects? How has it evolved over time?
  • Why is the industry advocating such tests?
  • Do results from such tests influence the traditional tolerance setting mechanisms of the EPA?
  • What are the drawbacks of using human subjects?
  • What is “The Common Rule?"
  • What is meant by informed consent?
  • Do the tests involving human subjects conducted by pesticide industry have IRB approval?
  • What are the indicators of the IRB system not meeting the purpose for which it was designed?
  • Does the EPA fund research on human subjects?

California Farmworkers and Pesticides

  • How do the authors analyze the declining number of pesticide-related illness cases?
  • Which crop and agriculture related activity account for the highest number of acute pesticide poisoning of farm workers?
  • Which are the major routes through which the farm workers are exposed to pesticides?
  • How significant have regulations been in protecting farm workers from risks of pesticide exposure?
  • What are the common violations of regulations by farm operators which adversely affect farm worker safety?
  • How proactive have the offices of the County Agricultural Commissioners been in enforcing farm worker protection regulations?
  • What are the recommendations by the authors for achieving better health standards?