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Child safety in study should be checked

Nov. 17, 2004


The Environmental Protection Agency recently postponed a governmental pesticide study using children as test subjects because of ethical concerns. The government study officials intended to observe how children's bodies absorb pesticides and other chemicals in order to determine possible dangers. Families that participated in the study would receive $970 plus a camcorder and children's clothes as incentives.

According to The Associated Press, the study would look at how chemicals such as flame retardants might be ingested, inhaled or absorbed through such things as food, drink, soil, crop residue and household dust. Researchers said this would be important because they would get a better understanding of what children can be exposed to. The EPA;s decision means a fifth outside panel will look at the safety of the study.

The editorial board agrees with the EPA's decision to postpone the study because, although the short-term findings of the study may help develop a better understanding of what pesticides are safe for children, many low-income families may be encouraged by the incentives to participate and find the repercussions of sick children in the future.

Regardless of how safe this study may be, the government should not encourage people to participate in something that may endanger their lives in the future.

Although only 60 children in Florida would be tested, The Lariat believes it is not right to put these children at risk until studies on this test show a definite conclusion of safety.

"If we decide to go forward with this study, we want to make sure it's done right," EPA spokeswoman Cynthia Bergman said in the AP article. While we see the need to examine this because of the daily dangers all children face regarding toxins, any conducted study performed on human beings must be examined fully before liabilities take place.

Editorial Board 5-0