E.P.A. Won’t Ban Chlorpyrifos, Pesticide Tied to Children’s Health Problems
By Lisa Friedman
Originally published in the July 18, 2019 edition of the New York Times
In a New York Times article published this week, Lisa Friedman reports that the Trump administration took a major step to weaken the regulation of toxic chemicals on Thursday when the Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.) announced that it will not ban chlorpyrifos, a pesticide linked to developmental delays in children. It has also been linked to lung cancer and Parkinson’s disease in adults.
The decision, which was made by E.P.A. administrator Andrew R. Wheeler, represents a win for the chemical industry and for farmers who have lobbied to continue using the toxic chemical despite its potential to cause serious harm.
Although the Obama administration announced in 2015 that it would ban chlorpyrifos after scientific studies produced by the E.P.A. showed the pesticide had the potential to damage brain development in children, the prohibition had not yet been carried out when, in 2017, then-E.P.A. administrator Scott Pruitt reversed Obama’s decision and provoked a wave of lawsuits.
While the recent crisis at Hacienda HealthCare continues to draw attention to problems within Arizona’s current system of monitoring and reporting sexual abuse of people with disabilities, almost no formal policies designed to recognize and prevent such abuse exist. The Council’s report is called “Sexual Abuse of Arizonans with Developmental and Other Disabilities” and it contains specific actions that state agencies and care providers can take to prevent the sexual abuse of vulnerable adults.
The Chicago Tribune published a followup investigative report to its award-winning story “Suffering in Secret” and unfortunately the promised reforms of Illinois group homes have not materialized. Michael J. Berens, the reporter who co-wrote “Suffering in Secret” with Patricia Callahan, penned the update and highlights several specific problems the group homes failed to correct. The story also features a compelling video interview with Peggy Strong, the mother of a daughter with disabilities whose health improved after being moved from a group home to a large institutional facility. Click here to read the article and click here to watch the video interview.
Danielle was almost 7 years old when detectives removed her from a filthy house in Plant City, Florida. She was so malnourished and neglected that doctors predicted she would be disabled for the rest of her life. The Tampa Bay Times’s Lane DeGregory won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for her profile of Dani and her adoptive family. Yesterday, Nov 29, DeGregoy published a fascinating update about Dani’s condition. Check out DeGregory’s latest report by clicking HERE, and to read the original award-winning story click HERE.
18-year old Tyneisha Wilder spoke to Pittsburgh’s Public Source about her desire to care for her child, who was taken from her by the county Children, Youth and Families office shortly after birth. Wilder has been diagnosed with an intellectual and developmental disability. To remain together, she must find a family to adopt both her and her son within 3-months. Read more.
In the wake of the Chicago attack on a teenager with intellectual disabilities, a New York Times writer reflects on the cruelty her brother faced as child. She writes of the Chicago attack, “His being different may be the main reason they chose him.” Read more
A study published in the journal PLOS ONE finds children with developmental disabilities are at risk for wandering away from a safe place, with children with autism the most likely to wander. Read more
When a child described to have autism disrupted a performance of “The King and I” this week, actor Kelvin Moon Loh went on Facebook to support the child and their parents after they faced backlash from audience members. Read more
This story from the Center for Investigative Reporting follows up on a 2012 investigation into the failures on the part of police to protect the developmentally disabled at California care institutions. The original series, Broken Shield, won the inaugural Katherine Schneider Journalism Award for Excellence in Reporting on Disability, the annual award of the National Center on Disability and Journalism.
Newly released records from the California Department of Public Health show 13 people have directly died from abuse, neglect and lack of supervision since 2002 at state-run institutions for the developmentally disabled. The Center for Investigative Reporting sued the public health department in 2012 after officials there refused to release the records over patient privacy concerns. This February, the state Supreme Court ruled in favor of CIR and compelled the department to release the documents.
These documents paint the most vivid picture yet of the poor treatment sometimes experienced inside California’s five taxpayer-funded development centers, which house more than 1,100 patients. In total, the centers have been fined for their actions in the deaths of 22 people since 2002.
Read more at Reveal, CIR’s new digital platform for its investigations.