A YOUNG CHILD’S BRAIN IS SO PRECIOUS for a human being’s future development that it cannot be overstated. Authorities in the field of child development have long demonstrated that the human brain and its nerve connections develop most rapidly in the earliest years. To interfere with that development is to condemn a person to a lifetime of slow learning and impairment.
This fact is vital to understanding the terrible potential impact of a new policy by the Trump administration to lift the ban on a pesticide that “is now found in food, air and drinking water,” according to NY Times columnist Nicholas Kristof. In his column on Oct. 28, Kristof writes that the pesticide “belongs to a class of chemicals developed as a nerve gas made by Nazi Germany” and that studies show that, while it affects adults and is linked to lung cancer and Parkinson’s disease, it is particularly harmful to the developing brains of young children.
Toxic Chemical Is Still In Use
The chemical, chlorpyrifos, is manufactured by Dow Chemical. According to Columbia University scientists, “a child’s brain is physically altered after exposure to this pesticide.” One study five years ago found that “it was in the umbilical cord blood of 87 percent of newborn babies tested.” In 2000 it was banned for most indoor household use but it is still used on fruit and vegetable crops. Environmental Protection Agency scientists found levels of it in some fruits and vegetables up to 140 times the safety limits and the EPA was set to ban its use on crops this spring.
That is, until the current EPA head Scott Pruitt, appointed by Trump, overrode the recommendations of its scientists and ordered the agency to reject the ban. Wendy Cleland-Hammett, who was the EPA’s top official overseeing pesticides and toxic chemicals, along with other scientists and administrators called the new ruling a real danger and a tactic to increase the profits of the chemical industry at the expense of public safety.
“Foxes Now Guard the Henhouse”
The new policies towards toxic chemicals are now in the hands of Nancy B. Beck, the newly appointed top deputy in the EPA’s toxic chemical unit who served for five previous years as an executive for the American Chemistry Council. The council is the industry’s trade association and an influential lobbying group pushing for relaxed restrictions on the use of toxic chemicals. Another official of the American Chemistry Council, Liz Bowman, is now a spokesperson for the EPA. In the wake of the new toxic chemical policies pushed by the agency, Cleland-Hammett resigned last month.
In Kristof’s words, “Trump appointed two foxes to be Special Assistant for Guarding the Henhouse.
As advocates for the healthy development of young children, this website is so alarmed by the new direction of the EPA that we are starting a petition drive, calling upon Congress to override the new rules and allowing the scientists’ findings on the use of toxic chemicals to prevail. We urge you to click on the link below to sign the petition and forward it to your Senator and Member of Congress. Our children’s future is too important to be sacrificed on the altar of adding profits to the already highly profitable chemical industry.