...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Monday, November 15, 2004
      ( 8:17 AM )
New Bush Policy: Poison Poor Children!

The Bush administration has been eager to get its second term programs off the ground and running. The news has listed such ambitious goals as privatizing social security, a defunding of medicare and medicaid, continued defunding of NCLB and other wildly progressive ideas as among the first the Bush administration plans to enact. However, quietly lurking under the radar are some "experiments" the administration is hoping to conduct. Welcome to the new Tuskeegee - only this time it's not a secret. Oh, and this time -- it's children.

The EPA wants to test the effects of chemicals and pesticides on children. So in order to do this, they are trying to recruit families to volunteer to intentionally expose their young children to pesticides over two years. The Bush administration is offering loads of incentives, including a one-time payment of $970, a camcorder and children's clothing. Who are they targeting? Duval County, Florida, one of the poorest communities in Florida, of course with more people of color than white folks. Luckily, the administration hasn't been able to completely purge the EPA of scientists with consciences.

Several EPA scientists expressed outrage about the study, saying it unfairly targets low-income families, attempting to lure them into an agreement with high-tech gadgets when they may not fully understand the health consequences for their children. In an email obtained by the Washington Post, Troy Pierce, an EPA life scientist in Atlanta, said the study "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."

The EPA's experiments are happily called "CHEERS" - Children’s Environmental Exposure Research Study. And the agency insists that no children will be harmed... yet they are recruiting the poorest of our community to not protect their children, but just allow them to continue what exposure they are receiving. But because it is poor families that are being targeted, the fear is that there will be attempts to receive the incentives offered by further endangering children.

The selection criteria for the study requires that a participant must spray, or have pesticides sprayed, inside their homes routinely. CCE is concerned that due to the demographic of the participants, they may be easily persuaded to increase their pesticide use to receive monetary or other forms of compensation.

"It has clearly been designed to target lower income families and to endanger the health of their children, making it grossly unethical," said Maureen Dolan Program Coordinator CCE. She questioned the motives of the study which has received US$2 million from the American Chemistry Council which represents 135 companies including pesticide manufacturers.

Oh, chemical corporations are sponsoring and paying for the experiments on poor children. Wow, I'm so shocked. Thankfully, this program has been halted for now (those pesky "ethical issues"), but the industries backing the experiments are pushing for the program to get back on track. There's only good that can come out of testing exposure of chemicals on children!

This outrage is not only about the Bush administration agreeing to be paid by chemical and pesticide corporations to allow children to be poisoned - it's about us as a nation once again standing by while the most vulnerable of us - our futures - are abused and neglected because we are too busy to notice. Today it's intentionally not protecting children from chemical poisoning. Tomorrow it could be intentionally not feeding children who need the free lunches they get at school as their only daily nourishment because we'd rather spend money elsewhere. Oops... that's already happened.

The second four years hasn't even started yet.

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