Monday, November 4, 2013

“The history of public health might well be written as a record of successive re-definings of the unacceptable” –Geoffrey Vickers

“…Many environmental problems that now profoundly affect human health are a result of solutions to other problems.  Lead poisoning in children, for instance, is a result of the formulation of useful products like paint and gasoline, solving some problems while creating another, quite serious in its impact on children.
“…[P]ublic health accomplishments stand out to me because my own child died as a result of it.  Mosquito spraying was initiated first to address polio in 1952, and then continued to prevent other infectious disease, like various kinds of encephalitis.  Unfortunately, by 1995-2000, very little publicity was given to this spraying, with very little oversight of what Clarke Environmental was spraying in the Chicago area. 
“In our suburb, they were spraying chlorpyrifos, an acutely toxic organophosphate that is among pesticides linked to doubled rates of leukemia in children (Zahm & Ward, 1998; Infante-Rivard & Weichenthal 2007).  With no notification of spraying, the chemical came right in our windows, making us all ill, though it was only after my daughter Katherine’s last-chance bone marrow transplant that we pieced together the likely reasons for her diagnosis and relapses.  It may seem like a small result of a previous public health effort, but it is not an unimportant one if it is your child who dies…”

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