September 11, 2006
She stands with her arms folded resolutely across her chest. In the background of the photo, you can see playground equipment. She is the mom protecting our children in this lead magazine article about the dangers of pest control spraying in the nation’s schools.
On the Internet, a website tracks reports of school pesticide exposure incidents. In 1995, case #94415050501, records parents’ complaints that their children had been exposed to pesticides on the school playground. One child in 5th grade broke out in hives. However, medical reports did not substantiate any claim that the child’s hives were due to pesticide exposure at school. Investigators also documented chemical applications on a neighboring farm the day before.
Another website links dangers from pesticides to “hazardous environmental exposures” in general. Their “Guiding Principles for Children’s Environmental Health” is a model of militant insistence on the right of children and adults “to know about proven and potential hazards to their environmental health and safety.”
This type of advocacy related to health issues, especially where children are concerned, has become commonplace. In the 1950s no cigarette smoker could have envisioned a complete city-wide ban for smokers in public buildings and restaurants.
Food police are building campaigns to crack down on fast food establishments…in spite of the fact that no one is dragged through a drive-in against their will and forced to order a fat-laden super-sized order of fries. If groceries go the way of cigarettes, one day we might be buying cookies with bold warnings from the Surgeon General printed on the side.
Thus, it is no surprise to read a top story this morning about a group of renowned psychologists, academics, teachers’ leaders and authors who say that “action is needed now in order to prevent the death of childhood.”
The 110-strong lobby group has written a letter to the Daily Telegraph asking that the Government intervene. Without immediate action, children will “suffer irretrievable psychological and physical damage.”
The letter insists that children “still need what developing human beings have always needed, including real food (as opposed to processed ‘junk’), real play (as opposed to sedentary screen-based entertainment), first-hand experience of the world they live in and regular interaction with the real-life significant adults in their lives.”
It is no surprise that they point their fingers at marketing forces for making children “act and dress like mini-adults.” Sue Palmer, former head teacher and author of Toxic Childhood passed the letter. “I think it is shocking,” she said. “We must make a public statement.”
The news story headline pounds in the message…”Poisoning Childhood.” It is reassuring to see the experts calling adults to account for the welfare of children. Then, again…
With health at the top of every agenda in public policy and the media, one must wonder why there is one health epidemic that is being shoved under the rug as part of a campaign of political correctness.
A child chooses a snack food laced with trans fats, and we call for the jailing of corporate executives. A child chooses to have sex, with or without a condom, and we herald her as a “responsible” and “mature” person who is “finding her sexual identity.”
We pinch out cigarettes across the room because we don’t want junior to be brain damaged by second-hand smoke. Then, at school, as part of a liberated sex education program, we hand out the address to the local abortion clinic where kids can get tested for one of the 25 rampant sexually transmitted diseases, some of them fatal…all under the shield of confidentiality…out of the purview of parents.
Go figure. Poisoning childhood? Maybe if someone could link trans fats to sexual dysfunction, our children might have a fighting chance at entering adulthood with their health and well-being in tact.
On the other hand, perhaps it is time for adults to attend to teen sex with the same intensity they give to cigarettes in the next room. We are poisoning childhood, and it is time to stop.
July 10, 2006 – How Young Is Too Young?
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