Are you a parent who uses pesticides in the home? How about Teflon or Scotchguard? Would you like $970 from the government to find out if these chemicals are harming your young children? Does that sound a bit creepy?
But that’s exactly what the Environmental Protection Agency is proposing, reports The Washington Post. And just to make matters creepier, the EPA accepted $2 million from the chemical-makers’ apologist group – the American Chemical Council – to pay for part of the research, the Post reported in another story:
The study will survey 60 children over the next two years in Duval County, Fla., and collect information on their exposure to pesticides and household chemicals, such as flame retardants and perfluorinated chemicals, a family of substances in products such as Teflon and Scotchguard. Some of these chemicals have come under scrutiny for possible links to health problems.
And here’s an explanation from Carol Henry, a Chemical Council vice president, on why they want this survey done: “Exposure has been ignored for many, many years. It’s the wasteland of risk assessment. We’d like the regulatory framework to be based on a very firm scientific foundation.”
Translation: if the government study finds that our chemicals are doing bad things to children, we want to know about it first so we can either run interference on the information or begin damage control. But don’t worry, says Henry, the government will retain control of the actual findings. What a relief.
And while some EPA managers in other states are expressing concern about this whole project, Linda Sheldon, a top EPA official says that the research is needed to find out what these chemicals are doing to small children. “We are developing the scientific building blocks that will allow us to protect children.”
Wait, am I missing something here? Hasn’t the American public ALREADY been promised that these chemicals are safe in our households? And why is the EPA focusing on children under 3? Do they already suspect something is wrong?
None of these EPA administrators are too young to remember President Clinton’s 1997 apology to the eight survivors of the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment. From 1932 to 1972, the American government conducted studies on 399 black men to see if syphilis essentially killed them in a manner different than white men.
During the experiments, a cure was found for the disease and then denied the survivors to protect the sanctity of the study. The men, who were from an extremely poor county in Alabama, were led to believe they were receiving free medical care. Many of the men suffered horribly, gave syphilis to their sexual partners or died from the disease. Here’s part of Clinton’s apology to the experiment’s victims:
The United States government did something that was wrong – deeply, profoundly, morally wrong. It was an outrage to our commitment to integrity and equality for all our citizens.
And yet here we are in 2004 with the EPA considering a study that smacks of the Tuskegee Experiment. Sixty children from a poor Florida county will be used as lab rats to see if their nervous systems are being damaged by everyday household chemicals.
But there is a difference between Tuskegee and the Duval County study. Americans and people all around the globe already are using these chemicals in and around their homes on a daily basis. So in reality, all of our children are lab rats. Why take these chemicals off the market and protect our children when we have an apology already to go? A president 40 years from now can just repeat Clinton’s words and all will be forgiven.