Monday, April 11, 2005

Good News: The Bug Is Dead. Bad News: Your Kid Has Twelve Fingers And Three Eyes

We generally let Mondays creep through the marbled halls of IM Central fairly unmolested as it is often hard for us to focus on the adult world after spending the previous 48 hours trying to recapture our misspent youth. Occasionally though, some news so exciting, so life affirming, so enriching crosses our bleary eyed path that we are born anew. Such an event has occurred on this date and with full to bursting hearts we pass it on to you:

Your government cares about children. After much soul searching and consulting with ethisists, clergy and Tom Delay, the Federal Government has decided not to experiment with pesticides on children.

The aim of the study, Stephen Johnson, EPA's acting administrator said, was to fill data gaps on children's exposure to household pesticides and chemicals. "We know DDT will kill 'em off pretty quickly," Johnson said, "and chlorpyrifos and diazinon will make their hair fall out, or they go blind or something, but we heard methyl parathion could just turn them totally bat crazy and wanted to check it out."

The study was suspended after ethical questions were raised by scientists within the EPA and by environmentalists. "I am committed to ensuring that EPA's research is based on sound science with the highest ethical standards," Johnson said, "but after someone told me this stuff might turn the kids green...well, the PR problem is obvious, so I exterminated it. Get it? Exterminated the pesticide study. Go ahead. You can laugh."

Over the study's two years, EPA had planned to give $970 plus a camcorder and children's clothes to each of the families of 60 children in Duval County, Florida, in what critics of the study noted was a low-income minority neighborhood. "That's why we picked them," Johnson explained. Can you see us rolling into Palm Beach, or Port Saint Lucie with this? Those people can read, plus they have access to lawyers."

"I am very pleased that Mr. Johnson has recognized the gross error in judgment the EPA made when they concocted this immoral program to test pesticides on children," said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California, who had joined with Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, in demanding the study's cancellation. Boxer added that she would continue to oppose any testing of toxins on humans. "Except maybe Frist or those cockroaches over at Powerline," she added.

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