Talk:Bush EPA nominee abandons insecticide-on-children study after Senate hearing

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Thanks for reporting this story, Alan.

And thank goodness Boxer and Nelson put a stop to this.

What was the EPA smoking?

I thought the EPA was supposed to be protecting us. Why worry about terrorists using chemical weapons on us, when our own regulatory agencies are paying people to use them on their children? — DV 06:00, 9 Apr 2005 (UTC)

DV I thought I was "seeing things" and someone must be wrong when I first started this story. Then it dawned on me: Human life only matters to these politicians if it can be manipulated at the ballot box. That's why they used one of the poorest districts in America to fashion a study like this. And most major branded news didn't even start to light up with the indignation they used for Clinton's member. Really Nazi-like and horrific --HiFlyer 14:13, 9 Apr 2005 (UTC)

DouglasGreen: I noticed a change in the "Requirements" section. The requirements were stated on the NYTimes article quite plainly. If there are further elaborations, they should come further down the page, IMO. --HiFlyer 14:50, 9 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I'm not sure about the requirements. I've seen at least 3 conflicting versions.

  • The EPA News Release dated October 12, 2004, states, "60 children, ages 0 to 3 years".
  • The New York Times story, which doesn't make sense to me, states 'having a baby under 3 months old or 9 to 12 months old, and "spraying pesticides inside your home routinely."' It doesn't make sense because of the discontinuous age requirements... why split the middle? Also, the "spraying pesticides inside your home routinely" claim contradicts other claims made by the EPA elsewhere, which states that both pesticide-using and non-pesticide using homes would be considered.
  • The EPA in its FAQ states "Be a parent of a child under the age of 13 months". That was the version I went with since it was the most elaborated with detail and up-to-date. Also, I question the wisdom of relying on the New York Times reading of a pamphlet to which we do not have access... the quote is not even properly attributed to the times. Perhaps we should contact the EPA for clarification? The Oct 12 press release has Ann Brown as the contact at brown.ann.NOSPAM@epa.gov.

By the way, I strongly disagree with your comments above about the nature of this controversy. In my opinion, it is Barbara Boxer and Co. who are "smoking things". The nature of this study is to research the impact of current, already high pesticide and household chemical use in the Jacksonville area, which being an extremely rainy and muggy area is full of pests. The alternative to observing and documenting the effects of such usage is simply to ignore it, ignore its effects on children, and go on pretending nothing is happening. DouglasGreen 15:09, 9 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Hi DouglasGreen: Every article is derived from our sources which we place at the bottom of a page, i.e., The NYT. Clearly, every author and editor doesn't annotate every single sentence, especially when you can source as strongly as I have with this article. Additionally, although you have thanked the NYT for their informatiion rather cryptically, you haven't provided a source for your responses, or the three 'conflicting' versions.
Yeah, I hear what you're saying and you've got a point. I added hyperlinks to the conflicting sources, all interestingly derived from the EPA. In a case of conflicting claims like this, it probably is more important to be careful about sources. Either the EPA is: 1) Being dishonest and making different claims to different audiences, which is a subject for scrutiny all by itself, or 2) They were clarifying that even young children could be involved because otherwise people would assume differently, or 3) The different sources resulting from changing goals of the research over time. I'm not sure which...

Before the entire article begins to be watered down with flak, it would be wise to list the sources, such as the FAQ you mentioned. Frankly I'm convinced the new administrator only quit this study, over his own objections to quitting, because people knew what it was about, not because of Ms. Boxer's strong argument that testing on children is wrong. I think that testing on children is probably a bi-partisan wrong thing to do, eh? Now, I knew of a Dr. Mengele who did quite a bit of it. --HiFlyer 15:40, 9 Apr 2005 (UTC)

While we're on the subject of spamming our government officials with e-mail :), a suggestion occurred to me for Wikinews. We could: 1. Create a "reporting@wikinews.org" e-mail address. 2. Also create a process by which e-mail inquiries can be collaboratively written then submitted to a process by which they are sent and the replies publicly posted.

That would accomplish a couple of objectives: 1. Streamline the contact process so 100 overzealous wikinewsies don't bombard somebody with similar questions. 2. Create a legitimacy of accreditation that would accompany an inquiry and thus be more likely to be accorded a response. DouglasGreen 15:43, 9 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I think any agency should be able to deal with all of their email. A hundred additional pieces is a drop in the bucket to most of them, DouglasGreen. They work for us.
Additionally I did go to your linked EPA site and will put it on the bottom of the page as an External site. With that I think the article is fine as you have finished it, OK? --HiFlyer 15:51, 9 Apr 2005 (UTC)
It looks OK to me. Thank you all for your article-writing activities and this discussion. I still think a "reporting@wikinews.org" e-mail is a good idea. If a hundred e-mails is a drop in the bucket for them, an official, accredited, unbiased Wikinews e-mail would get their attention and not be ignored. Isn't that important, too? DouglasGreen 15:55, 9 Apr 2005 (UTC)

DouglasGreen, we're all on the same team, even though sometimes it gets a little dicey ;-) .. If you can get a consensus to provide such an email collection zone, I would prefer if we put our own email letters that we get back from those places in it and let every one compare results. But anything is fine as long as it gives a good picture of the news. And thank you for all your good work. --HiFlyer 16:01, 9 Apr 2005 (UTC)

It seems to me that articles like this one call for a project much like FactCheck.org to review and disect obvious political noise like the quotes in this article. Disclosure: I'm a democrat... however, I'm not a democrat that automatically attempts to demonize everything that a republican administration does. In this case, saying that anyone was performing human testing on children is clearly a ploy to direct public outrage at the current administration. There are pesticides used in homes with children. This is something the EPA should investigate. Ajs 19:16, 9 Apr 2005 (UTC)

The EPA admitted that they were offering the financial incentive of $970, along with a camcorder, for participation in this study. How many poor families would have started spraying insecticide in their home for this type of compensation?
Offering incentives to use harmful chemical agents around children is abhorrent, no matter what one's political affiliation may be.
Instead of studying the harmful effects of such products, the EPA should be advocating for laws to restrict sales of these products to qualified professionals who are tested and certified to ensure the proper application of insecticides in a manner that is not harmful to human life (if such a thing is even possible).
It's not as if there are widespread, recurring outbreaks of malaria or other tropical diseases in Florida, which could justify the tradeoff between the effects of such diseases and the use of poisonous agents to combat them. Is there any evidence to suggest that pests in Florida are anything other than a mere nuisance? — DV 19:48, 9 Apr 2005 (UTC)
An ethically designed study would prevent this by surveying the homes before offering the incentives, and then directly offering them to those homes which are using them. Is there any evidence this has been done?--Eloquence 21:22, 9 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Billboards ran a 1-800 number and people were told to call and get info on participating in the study. This may be the poorest county in Florida and $1,000 and a video camera--and a tee shirt--were offered to participants, as the story says. Could sound like a lot of money to very poor people. No other survey of participants has been reported. Truly outrageous no matter what political club you are in, huh? And the kind of reporting that Wikians find important...I certainly do. --HiFlyer 21:33, 9 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Which source does the information that billboards were used to advertise the study come from?
I think we should work more in this article and make it a really comprehensive report on the issue. It could become an example of the level of collaborative research we can do on Wikinews. So please get back to me ASAP re: the source for this (note that it would be helpful if you would be on IRC when at all available for questions).
One thing I just found out, which I added to the article, is that the website description for the CHEERS study was changed without notice by November 2004. Apparently this was in response to the outbreak of the controversy last fall. My intution tells me that even the sentence "(You do not need to change your regular household routine for the study.)" in the first version of the website I could obtain was tacked on later, since it doesn't make any sense in context and looks out of place. Unfortunately, the Internet Archive doesn't have any earlier version of the page.
Another thing is that there is definitely a contradiction between that website and the actual "peer reviewed study design" it links to. The website looks like an advertisement for people to become participants (with a number to call), while the study design requires EPA recruiters to meet people, and to determine eligibility in a follow-up visit. This still has some potential for abuse, but obviously much less so than an open recruiting process.
Again, the more evidence we can find for what has actually happened here, the better. Let's try to be as unbiased as possible and get to the core of the matter.--Eloquence 21:57, 9 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Editorial with additional informationEdit

Absent answers to the above, this editorial criticizes the original proposed study design. It seems to be all in all on solid footing, factually speaking, but would still have to be checked by someone and incorporated into the article in attributed form.--Eloquence 22:21, 9 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I am looking for a sound file from a radio program I heard during the week. That would be a wonderful link...give me a little time to put this together--I think it's great that we get behind this effort to find out the unbelievable facts behind this most disgusting story. --HiFlyer 22:45, 9 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Ok I posted the link to the soundtrack. I can try to cut the report out, but I'm unsure about hosting it on Commons...I have to find out if it is free...unless someone knows? --HiFlyer 23:10, 9 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Subheads and more infoEdit

OK, I balanced the article out by providing subheads for the Senate opposition and the EPA review, with another statement from the EPA about the study from back in 2004, and the official cancellation notice from the EPA web site.

I couldn't find out how the study was advertised online, but I'm listening to the RM sound track now. Thanks for the link, Alan. — DV 23:28, 9 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I just listened to the Free Speech radio show segment about the EPA, and apparently there was an 1-800 number, (they dialed it on the show to prove that it existed), but the number now announces that the study is canceled.
I can't find info about how that number was publicized.
Alan, if you can point to any sources for that aspect of the story, it would strengthen its impact. Specifically, what is the source for the assertion that the 1-800 number was advertised on billboards? — DV 23:36, 9 Apr 2005 (UTC)
DV it was another radio report that spoke of the billboards. But you will notice that I don't have that relationship on the story for the reason you state...I am trying to find that story since it will be another part of the total picture. I remember thinking how obstruse! Reaching these folks that maybe didn't have a phone by using a billboard and an 800-number! But this is Saturday night and I have to spend some time with my family. I'll see you all again in the morning. I trust my fellow Wikians to present the full picture (as ugly as that may be.) --HiFlyer 23:48, 9 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Well, the radio segment claims that the toll-free number could be used to sign up for the study, which would be a significant revelation and contradicts the peer reviewed study design. I've contacted the author of the segment, and hopefully they will get back to me with more info. Alan, please do try to track down the billboard statement. If we can get this all properly sourced, I see no reason not to make the story a lead (and perhaps put it under a new title).--Eloquence 01:00, 10 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Eloquence, I have not been able to source the bit about the billboards yet. I think the story stands on its own legs without that bit, no? It should be a lead item IMO...after all the work we all have done on it. --HiFlyer 16:42, 10 Apr 2005 (UTC)


Direct quoteEdit

What I inserted was a direct quote as well, Eloquence. See the new external link for verification (PEER). Additionally, I originally placed the information in the block quote, and have some familiarity with it.
And now I will D/L two image files that may prove helpful. At which point I leave this project to pursue my 2 stories for the day ;-) --HiFlyer 18:57, 10 Apr 2005 (UTC)
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