11/15/2004

EPA and Chemical Industry to Test Toxic Chemicals on Children

EPA and Chemical Industry to Test Toxic Chemicals on Children

Question: The EPA CHEERS website states that participants don't even have to have exposure to chemicals, yet your alert states that participants will be exposed to chemicals. What's up with that?

Answer: As part of the study's structure, there will be a "control group" for the sake of data comparison. That is, a small percentage of participants of any study of this type are not exposed to the chemicals being tested, in order to have a comparison of results between those with exposure and those without. Of the 60 participants originally selected for this study, only 6 were in that "minimal exposure" control group. In other words, 90% or higher of the chosen participants would involve children who are exposed to higher levels of the studied chemicals.

Question: We criticize these companies for NOT doing studies and now want to stop this one? What is the logic there?

Answer: This study enjoys $2 million of funding from the American Chemistry Council (ACC), who, according to the EPA CHEER's website, will oversee much of the study. The ACC is made up of chemical corporations, such as Exxon, Dow and Monsanto, who have a long history of being indicted for environmental crimes against minorities and low income families.

We aren't criticizing these companies for NOT doing studies, we criticize them for ignoring and/or burying the mountains of already existing research that clearly indicate many of their products are dangerous. We also criticize them for being responsible for some of the most vile environmental crimes this planet has ever seen.
- Exxon still hasn't paid a dime to clean up the Valdez oil spill.
- Dow continues to claim that Agent Orange is safe and had no negative impacts on U.S. soldiers or the Vietnamese.
- Monsanto [was] recently fined for secretly hiding knowledge of toxic levels of their PCBs in poor areas for over 40 years.

The ACC has consistently demonstrated that it is more concerned with boosting it's member's sales via biased studies than protecting public safety. The ACC would not put $2 million into a study that it does not believe it could put a positive spin on. The ACC has never funded or released a study in which the final results revealed negative health implications associated with its member companys' products.

Question: Could you please state the source of the information you just sent out to subscribers regarding the proposed EPA study that will test the effects of pesticides in children?

Answer: Please refer to the green navigation bar on the right hand side of this webpage for a series of links for further research.

Question: I thought this study was cancelled due to pressure from the public. ? Can you let me know?

Answer: The study is not cancelled, it is merely delayed. On November 11th, the EPA announced suspension of the study's launch until early 2005 for the sake of "final review." The Organic Consumers Association is taking this opportunity to call on the nation's citizens to demand the EPA permanently terminate this abuse of low income children by the chemical industry.

Question: According to the CHEERS site, chemical exposure to participants will not be increased from what they already had exposure to in their homes, prior to the study. So what's wrong with studying what they already would have been doing anyway?

Answer: The study layout mandates that chosen applicants will need to demonstrate that they do regularly use toxic chemicals in and around the home in order to be eligible for the study and the payout. The concern here is that the study serves as an incentive for low income applicants (which consists of 100% of the applicants) to increase their chemical use in the home in order to be more likley to be chosen for the study (and the payout). Since participation in these types of studies is most often marketed to low income individuals or families, researchers regularly find that applicants will change lifestyle behaviors in order to be eligible for the study (in this case, it's $970 and a free video camera). As an example, researchers in studies of tobacco have found applicants who claimed to be regular smokers when entering the study, but in actuality only began smoking upon discovering advertisments for the paid study.
Question: Your alert claims that low income families are being targeted, but the EPA CHEERS website says that the people in this particular area are being studied because they use pesticides year round. Please explain.

Answer: Low income families have clearly been targeted in this study, whether the EPA admits to it or not. Participants for the study were chosen from 6 health clinics and three hospitals in Jacksonville, FL. The vast majority of the patients in these facilities are in low income brackets. These medical facilities report that 51% of their births are to non-white mothers and 62% of mothers have only received an elementary or secondary education. There are many medical facilities in Jacksonville that service a higher income clientele, and none of them were included in this study. In addition, the poorer neighborhoods of Jacksonville FL are not the only areas in the U.S. with year round pesticide exposure. Any area of the country that has a climate suitable for year round managed domesticated vegetation also has year round pesticide use. In short, the targeting of this demographic of the population, based on the argument of exposure, is not valid.

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