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"The future will depend on our wisdom not to replace one poison with another."
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Reading, Writing & Human Experimentation

by: Brandon Stirling Baker

Los Angeles, Ca, - The 14th Amendment of our Constitution says that everyone is entitled to equal protection under the law. I'm seventeen years old, and I d like to live way past eighteen.

Too many kids have cancer and asthma and lots of learning problems and kids need to be protected from anything that might make health and learning problems worse. Our constitution seems to agree, because if they didn't want kids to be protected our founding fathers would have said that everyone is entitled to equal protection under the law except kids. And it doesn't say that.

California law today allows pesticides that have not received full health, stability and efficacy tests to be used on school campuses. These products that are not fully registered are known as experimental or conditionally registered products. The fact that k-12 public schools are being targeted to test experimental or conditional use pesticide products is downright creepy.

To close this dangerous loophole, Assemblywoman Montanez (D) has written a bill called AB405. The sponsors are California Safe Schools, a children's environmental health coalition dedicated to protecting kids from environmental toxins. Keep in mind, the law requires that kids attend k-12 public schools, so it's not like we have a choice about what we have to sit through during the school days. The bill, which has been approved by the Assembly, was created to protect kids, and prevent k-12 public schools from
being used as test sites for experimental chemicals.

To understand why this bill is important, here's what's missing on some products that they can now legally use in schools. It's not Halloween but hang on because it's scary:

EFFICACY TESTING. THIS has to do with how well a product kills pests. So, if  you're a school district buying products, the last thing you want is to buy something that may or may not work, or use any product around schools where the chemical manufacturer never bothered to complete safety testing.

STABILITY TESTING. For those who weren't lucky enough to have a great science teacher like Ms. Macion like I did, and may not have learned about stability tests, they tell you about a chemical's storage ability. Some chemical interact with other chemicals and can become more dangerous the longer they are stored, and some others don't work if you store them too long- or worse somebody multi mixing chemicals that isn't qualified could end up causing an explosion or a release of chemicals in your school that if they don't kill you make you sick.

Kids are lucky at Los Angeles Unified, which is the largest school district in the state and the second largest in the USA because they don't allow experimental pesticide products, and have a smart program called Integrated Pest Management (IPM) that requires low risk methods to kill pests and weeds. But hey, what about other school districts, and when teachers and students visit are they being used as lab rats? Without AB 405, it sure seems like it.

The bills endorsers include the California Medical Association, California State PTA, California Teachers Association, Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America, Los Angeles Unified, California School Boards Association, Sierra Club, California League of Conservation Voters, and the Environmental Health and Environmental Justice Community.

Anyway you look at it, k-12 public school kids, teachers and school workers can be used as lab experiments, without our knowledge In the words of one of  my favorite actors, Wallace Shawn as Vizzini in "Princess Bride", its' "Inconceivable"!

For further information on AB 405
Robina Suwol, Executive Director
California Safe Schools


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