Policy Documents

EPA, Greens Keep Harming Children

June 13, 2011

Whenever the Environmental Protection Agency or the green movement uses the term "it's for the children" as a justification for their legislative and regulatory restrictions, it is the children who are the first to suffer.

First, the EPA banned DDT. And even though this ban in the United States did not require other nations to follow, so much economic pressure was placed on countries that didn't ban it outright that it became a de facto ban in all but a few nations.

The cost to humanity has been staggering. Approximately one million people die from malaria each year. In many areas of the world there isn't a family that hasn't lost loved ones to malaria. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. Each year approximately 500 million people are infected, with many people becoming infected multiple times during their lives. Children suffer the most, going months at a time sapped of the health and energy necessary to go to school and grow their bodies. In addition to physical misery, malaria imposes an economic burden that hamstrings entire nations.

Now the U.S. EPA has embarked on a program of rodenticide elimination that will prevent unlicensed consumers from using the most effective rodenticides. The number of people dying or getting sick from accidental rodenticide exposure is amazingly small. Most human poisonings from rodenticides are self induced in failed attempts to commit suicide. The attempts usually fail because it takes a lot of rodenticide to kill a person.

Yet the green activists’ ultimate goal is a complete ban on rodenticides.

By banning DDT and other safe and effective insecticides, EPA has created the regulatory nightmare that has caused the plague of bedbugs that is spreading around the nation. Children are especially at risk, as bedbugs increasingly invade public schools. Now children will be at heightened risk for diseases spread by rats and mice.

Let's hope that EPA stops banning important health and safety chemicals "for the children." When EPA does so, children end up suffering the most.

Jay Lehr, PhD. (lehr@heartland.org) is science director of The Heartland Institute. Richard Kozlovich (elkoz@juno.com) is president of Ohio 2000 Pest Management.