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Emails Show How Pesticide Lobby Influenced US Position in Health Talks

“The U.S. insisted that new international guidelines on combating drug resistance omit any mention of fungicides — a demand that the industry made but that ran counter to science.”

“The emails, from a pesticide industry lobbyist to employees at the Department of Agriculture, expressed alarm over proposed guidelines issued by a United Nations task force working to combat the rise of drug-resistant infections that kill thousands each year.

Ray S. McAllister, a policy official at the trade association CropLife America, urged U.S. agriculture officials to fight any effort to include the words “crops” or “fungicides” in the guidelines — a position that would run counter to growing international consensus that the overuse of antifungal compounds is a threat to human health by contributing to drug resistance and should be monitored.

“I want to make certain I am correct in assuming that this document and associated comments do not address fungicide use,” he wrote to an agency veterinary scientist, who warned that such a position would leave the United States isolated.

Mr. McAllister got what he wanted.”

Andrew Jacobs reports for the New York Times September 24, 2020.