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Bush-Halted Study Could Make a Difference for Our Kids


The Bush administration recently canceled funding for the most important national children's environmental health study, the National Children's Study, spearheaded by Dr. Philip Landrigan, M.D., M.Sc.

If we can mobilize the public in the next 10 days to support this study, which plans to follow 100,000 American children from conception to age 21 to elucidate the factors in the environment -- chemical, biological, psychological and social -- that influence their health, growth, development and risk of disease, we can make a difference in the lives of children and future generations yet born.

As parents who lost a child to an illness we believe could have been prevented, my husband and I feel that our right to know is a moral right. Had we known what I may have been exposed to during my pregnancy that may have triggered the development of Colette's Wilm's Tumor, she might have lived to celebrate her twentieth birthday.

Prevention is a very necessary part for the cure of any disease. Without having access to vital information that can prevent childhood diseases like asthma and cancer, parents and caregivers are at a loss to understand the complex impact of cumulative exposures to toxins in the environment and how they affect children who are "not little adults."

Currently, science is proving that children are more vulnerable and their health is at risk due to these exposures. Without having access to vital information that details where and when these exposures occur, especially pesticides which can cause nerve damage and learning disabilities, parents are at a loss and inadvertently may be exposing their children in their own homes and schools to chemicals that should be avoided or banned.

The truth may be inconvenient to our government as science continues to prove that children's health is risk. In 1995, having testified before The House Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Health and the Environment for H.R. 1627, The Food Quality Protection Act, I stated, "There is no benefit to a nation that allows its most vulnerable members to be at risk."

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