Study Launch Date Suspended Until Early 2005 Offers Public Comment Period
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), led by Bush appointees, is seeking input on a new proposed study in which infants in participating low income families will be monitored for health impacts as they undergo exposure to known toxic chemicals over the course of two years. The study entitled Children?s Environmental Exposure Research Study (CHEERS) will look at how chemicals can be ingested, inhaled or absorbed by children ranging from babies to 3 years old.
For taking part in these studies, each family will receive $970, a free video camera, a T-shirt, and a framed certificate of appreciation.
In October, the EPA received $2.1 million to do the study from the American Chemistry Council, a chemical industry front group that includes members such as Dow, Exxon, and Monsanto (see full list of members on OCA site). Critics of the research, including some EPA scientists, claim the study’s funders guarantee the results will be biased in favor of the chemical industry, at the expense of the health of the impoverished children serving as test subjects.
For 30 years the ACC has known the high level of toxicity of the specific chemicals being “studied” in this project. These are some of the most dangerous known chemicals in household products. The ACC knows full well the intensely negative impacts that these chemicals have on humans, as does the EPA. This is fully documented in study after study and memo after memo and meeting after meeting over three decades (see side bar and footnotes on the OCA site).
The trick here is that these products are known to have negative long term health effects. This is a short two year study. The results are already known…there will be little to no obvious negative effects on these children at the end of the two year period. The seemingly positive results of the study will allow the ACC to advertise positive “EPA study results” to the public, which will allow the ACC to more effectively lobby congress to weaken regulations on these products even more (thereby increasing profits dramatically). This technique has been exercised by the ACC for decades.
The real negative effects of these types of chemicals come further down the road, when these children could exhibit learning disorders, a propensity for various types of cancer, early puberty, and birth defects in their children.
Participants for the study were chosen from 6 health clinics and three hospitals in Jacksonville, FL. 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.
Important Note on Participants of Study: The study layout does not require that participants increase their chemical use, but does mandate that chosen applicants will need to demonstrate that they do regularly use toxic chemicals in and around the home. The concern here is that low income applicants may increase their toxic chemical use for the sake of applying and being eligible for the funding.
Important Note on Suspension of the Study: 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.