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