I had the privilege yesterday of speaking to representatives of the EPA at a meeting sponsored by California Safe Schools and others. The purpose of the guidelines will be to “guide” areas about what constitutes a safe area to place schools eg not on top of a toxic landfill (don’t laugh, this is already an issue in too many places). The other speakers were quite impressive. I am going to divide the essence of my message into two postings in order that neither be too long.
I chose to speak at a stronger level. My purpose was to encourage the EPA and other governmental bodies to be rigorous about regulations that would prevent the building of schools on potentially toxic sites. “The incidences of asthma, cancer, and attention deficit disorder are increasing at alarming rates. A study of school districts in the greater Washington, DC area found that there was a direct correlation between Indoor Air Quality and both attendance and performance of the students. A report by the Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility group states that environmental neurotoxins are to blame for the ‘epidemic of developmental, learning, and behavioral disabilities’ that have become evident among children.” Dr. Doris Rapp has shown repeatedly the connection between ADD in children and their intolerance to chemicals found in their homes and in their schools.
This sounds like a common sense issue. Yet story after story was presented yesterday of how bureaucracies and money issues dismissed these essential issues. I thank the EPA folks for listening carefully. The draft of their guidelines is available online.
We can choose how we listen to facts in order to make wise decisions for ourselves that affect everyone. More about this in my next post.