Children's health

Linda Wells's blog
By Linda Wells,

Here in Minnesota, the state Department of Agriculture (MDA) just announced a review of Best Management Practices (BMPs) for all agricultural insecticides, but with a special focus on chlorpyrifos.

Why chlorpyrifos? Like many places around the globe, Minnesota has alarmingly high levels of chlorpyrifos in our lakes and rivers. And while chemical build-up in the environment is never a good thing, with chlorpyrifos it's especially troubling because of its well-documented harms to children's health.

Kristin Schafer's blog
By Kristin Schafer,

EPA is doing a better job protecting children's health, according to a new government report. This is very welcome news indeed — kudos to EPA for recognizing that when it comes to environmental harms, kids cannot be treated like little adults.

The bad news? The report flagged one arena where kids' health protection is lagging: pesticide decisionmaking. Yikes. As we know from our recent A Generation in Jeopardy report, pesticide exposure is a biggy when it comes to childhood health harms.

Linda Wells's blog
By Linda Wells,

In our modern, chemical-filled world, many parents are constantly guarding their kids against exposure to pesticides and other potential health threats. Today I want to shine the light on just one of those hardworking parents: a mom named Andrea Stish.

Andrea recently moved to Rochester, Minnesota with her husband and their toddler. Since then, Andrea has been working tirelessly to protect her daughter from pesticides at city parks and in their own neighborhood. Now she's taking her case to city officials, calling for a commitment to pesticide-free parks and playgrounds to protect all the city's kids.

Kristin Schafer's blog
By Kristin Schafer,

Seven years. Scientists tell us that's the window in the first years of life when children are most vulnerable to pesticide harms. That's also exactly how long EPA has — so far — delayed putting rules in place to protect kids from pesticides that drift from agricultural fields.

Bottom line? While regulators think about what to do, an entire generation of rural kids has experienced increased risk of harms that can last a lifetime. Health risks from early life pesticide exposure are very real, and can be serious. Science points to falling IQs, ADHD, learning disabilities, birth defects and, in some cases, cancer. That's why this week, we're taking EPA to court for being too darn slow.

Kristin Schafer's blog
By Kristin Schafer,

Update 7/18/13: After months of delay, Gina McCarthy was confirmed as the new head of EPA today. See this media statement for more details.

We hear the Senate will take up the confirmation of EPA's new leader next week. As we wait on the final vote, I've been thinking about what I'd say to Administrator-to-be Gina McCarthy if I had a chance to take her out for coffee and a chat as she gets ready to step into her new role.

Three things come to mind. First, I'd urge her to have the agency do a much, much better job following the science. Second, when that science points to human health or environmental harms, she needs to move fast — no dawdling allowed. And third, I'd remind her just exactly who she'll be working for. Because even though they don’t show up in suits on EPA’s doorstep every day (like the industry reps do), it's the nation's children she'll answer to in the end.