Ohio children are being harmed by toxic chemicals
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.
get more stories like this via email
California tribes are headed to the White House Tribal Nations Summit tomorrow, where they will ask Congress and the Biden administration to create …
A new report shows Maine is exceeding the home-heating goals set forth in its ambitious four-year climate plan to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions…
It's estimated that one in three Kentuckians struggles to pay medical bills, and the issue continues to be a driving factor in personal bankruptcy …
Senate lawmakers are soon expected to vote on the Modernizing Opioid Treatment Access Act, legislation introduced this year by Republican Sen…
Health and Wellness
A new program in Utah wants to help first responders learn to recognize and work through their traumatic life events through horsemanship. This …
Health and Wellness
A coalition of Nevada groups is behind a statewide effort to make Nevada an Employment First state. That would align the state with a U.S. Labor …
Government accountability groups want increased transparency in New York criminal court decisions. This comes after a new report finds only 6% of …
Fewer college students are taking foreign language courses, and a new report warns this could affect how well students are prepared for a globalized …