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Colleges see big drop in foreign-language enrollment; Kentucky advocates say it's time to bury medical debt; Young Farmers in Michigan hope the new farm bill will include key benefits regarding land access.

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The White House presses for supplemental Ukraine aid. Leaders condemn antisemitic attacks during Gaza ceasefire protests. Despite concerns about the next election, one Arizona legal expert says courts generally side with voters and democracy.

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Congress has iced the Farm Bill, but farmer advocates argue some portions are urgent, the Hoosier State is reaping big rewards from wind and solar, and opponents react to a road through Alaska's Brooks Range, long a dream destination for hunters and anglers.

Ohio children are being harmed by toxic chemicals

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Thursday, November 9, 2023   

Children of color and from low-income families in Ohio and across the nation are not only exposed to more dangerous toxic chemicals including lead, tailpipe and other air pollution, plastics and pesticides; they also experience disproportionate harm to brain development compared to their white and higher income peers, according to a new report.

Devon Payne-Sturges, associate professor of environmental health at the University of Maryland and the report's co-author, said five decades of data show poverty exacerbates the effect of pollution.

"Studies have found that the combined experience, say, of exposure to lead in the environment -- and being from an impoverished community, or a low-income family -- actually worsened the negative cognitive impacts," Payne-Sturges reported.

Interventions, such as replacing lead pipes bringing drinking water into homes, are important. But she argued counting on people to avoid exposure at the individual level will not work, because toxins are found in so many places and products people use every day.

Payne-Sturges emphasized policies are needed at the national level to address the cumulative public health effects.

"If you really want to ensure that kids grow up in a healthy environment that is also good for their brain development, we need a strategy that addresses these contaminants all together," Payne-Sturges contended.

Payne-Sturges stressed it is also important to look at how pollutants end up where children live. She pointed out communities of color are not simply making bad decisions about where to raise families. Unhealthy environments are a result of decisions made by industry leaders and government policies.

"A long history related to discriminatory practices," Payne-Sturges outlined. "Residential segregation that forced people only to live in certain places, that often happened to be places where polluting industries would site."

This reporting was supported in part by Media in the Public Interest and the George Gund Foundation.



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