Sunday, October 31, 2004

Use pesticides, get a free camcorder

Dissension has arisen within the Environmental Protection Agency over a proposed research project partially funded by the chemical industry, to study young children's exposure to pesticides. According to Washington Post reporter Julie Eilperin, sixty children in Florida will be investigated for how they absorb pesticides and other household chemicals. EPA officials have expressed concern over possible bias in this study and the exploitation of the children and their families. In an article published in the Oct. 31 San Francisco Chronicle, she writes :

... In exchange for participating for two years in the Children's Environmental Exposure Research Study, which involves infants and children up to age 3, the EPA will give each family using pesticides in their home $970, some children's clothing and a camcorder that parents can keep.

EPA officials in states such as Georgia and Colorado sent e-mail messages to each other last week suggesting the study lacked safeguards to ensure that low-income families would not be swayed into exposing their children to hazardous chemicals in exchange for money and high-tech gadgetry. Pesticide exposure has been linked to neurological problems, lung damage and birth defects.

Suzanne Wuerthele, the EPA's regional toxicologist in Denver, wrote to her colleagues on Wednesday that after reviewing the project's design, she feared poor families would not understand the dangers associated with pesticide exposure.

"It is important that EPA behaves ethically, consistently, and in a way that engenders public health. Unless these issues are resolved, it is likely that all three goals will be compromised, and the agency's reputation will suffer," she wrote in an e-mail obtained by the Washington Post. "EPA researchers will not tell participants that using pesticides always entails some risk, and not using pesticides will reduce that risk to zero."

Troy Pierce, a life scientist in the EPA's Atlanta-based pesticides section, wrote in a separate e-mail: "This does sound like it goes against everything we recommend at EPA concerning use of (pesticides) related to children. Paying families in Florida to have their homes routinely treated with pesticides is very sad when we at EPA know that (pesticide management) should always be used to protect children." ...

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So while our President has refused to enforce hundreds of environmental regulations, the main agency in charge of protecting our environment is bribing poor families to expose their young children to pesticides in a study partially funded by the chemical industry. Another example of how far down the wrong road we have traveled in environmental policies over the last four years.

4 Comments:

Blogger Robert said...

Using small children??? Are they insane? What if the children become poisoned? They are just fucking stupid.

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