PNS Daily Newscast - June 25, 2019 

Conditions reported to be so bad, 300 migrant children are moved from a Texas detention center. Also on our Tuesday rundown: Sen. Susan Collins gets a challenge from Maine's House Speaker. Plus, a bill in Congress points to the need for summer meals.

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Poor Air Quality Affects Nevada Children

Utah is the only U.S. state that releases more toxic chemicals into the environment than Nevada. (
Utah is the only U.S. state that releases more toxic chemicals into the environment than Nevada. (
April 2, 2018

CARSON CITY, Nev. — Just about this time last year, Las Vegas and Reno were singled out by the American Lung Association for having some of the worst air quality in the nation. How the environment affects Americans' health has long been a heated topic of discussion, and one expert on the subject says the federal government isn't doing enough research on pollution, or taking enough action to prevent children from being exposed to it.

Lawrence Schell is director of the Center for the Elimination of Minority Health Disparities. He said scientists continue to find connections between toxins in the environment and adverse health impacts, but not enough is being done about it.

"Instead of waiting until there are, you know, dead bodies on the street, when there's evidence of a threat from an environmental factor, we should prevent that factor from affecting children and even adults,” Schell said; “even before every single piece of confirmatory evidence is assembled."

According to the World Health Organization, more than one-in-four deaths of children under age five are attributable to unhealthy air and water. And the EPA says Nevada ranks second of all the states for total amounts of toxic chemicals released into the environment.

Schell said the government has stepped up to protect children from lead-based paint, but added that pollution doesn't affect all areas of society equally. He said minority communities, especially Native Americans, are impacted most.

"Action was taken when it was shown that lead levels were affecting middle-class kids in a suburb of Boston,” he said. “And when we see kids who are affected who are from disadvantaged parts of the community or minority parts of the community, or both, sometimes political action isn't quite as strong."

Schell said the U.S. has made a lot of progress, but there's much more work to be done.

"In order to save children, we're going to have to build in a margin of safety,” he said. “And right now, that seems to be a difficult thing for our government to realize."

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - NV