Score one for the Dems. Stephen Johnson on Friday agreed not to poison infants and toddlers with pesticides in exchange for Senate confirmation of his appointment to head the EPA.
Johnson — a generally unobjectionable nominee, especially by Bush admin standards — was expected to glide on through the confirmation process, but Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) threw a wrench into matters on Wednesday, demanding that Johnson, who’s now acting administrator of the EPA, permanently cancel the notorious CHEERS research. The Children’s Environmental Exposure Research Study had, according to the New York Times, “offered $970, a free camcorder, a bib and a T-shirt to parents whose infants or babies were exposed to pesticides if the parents completed the two-year study. The requirements for participation were living in Duval County, Fla., having a baby under 3 months old or 9 to 12 months old, and ‘spraying pesticides inside your home routinely.’” Oh, and a couple mil in funding for it was being put up by the American Chemistry Council, a trade group representing, among others, pesticide manufacturers.
After the study drew highly critical press (imagine that), Johnson last fall suspended it pending ethical review (which you would think would take, oh, about 20 seconds). Now, the study’s dead for good.
And this is what counts as an environmental victory these days — managing to thwart research that would use poor kids as guinea pigs for the pesticide industry.