Press "Enter" to skip to content

Center for Public Integrity Produces Perils of the New Pesticides and Independent Investigations

We live in a world where there are so many chemicals and products, that some people have developed an allergy to the 21st century. That is an extreme example, and won’t be a problem for most of us, but how much do you know about the safety of the products you buy at the grocery or pharmacy, and bring into your home?
A report by Sean Crawford for Chicago Public Radio reports that tests have found that drinking water throughout Illinois is “…contaminated with low levels of chemicals found in prescription and over the counter drugs, from pain relievers and antibiotics to anti depressants.” Illinois EPA’s Maggie Carson claims “there is not risk to the public.” But doesn’t it make you consider what would happen to a

CPI story has an interactive graphic where you search the EPA database for pesticide incidents

CPI story has an interactive graphic where you search the EPA database for pesticide incidents

baby who would be exposed to low levels of prescription drugs as it develops and to young children as they grown and mature? With exposure to chemicals, the harm often comes not from one-time exposure, but to exposure over a long-time.

The Center for Public Integrity is exploring a new kind of investigative reporting on issues like its recent story, “Perils of the New Pesticides.” From the untimely death of a little girl whose mother simply treated her for headlice with a common drugstore remedy which contained pyrethrins. According to the CPI story,

Pyrethrins, extracted from the chrysanthemum plant, and their synthetic relatives, pyrethroids, have exploded in popularity over the last decade. They are now used in thousands of consumer products from Hartz Dog Flea & Tick Killer to Raid Ant and Roach Killer. These chemicals are found in bug-repellant clothing, flea collars, automatic misting devices, lawn-care products, and carpet sprays. Manufacturers developed them as safer alternatives to a class of compounds, derived from Nazi nerve gases, called organophosphates, found in products such as Dursban. The chemicals were widely used in American homes as recently as the late 1990s but are no longer approved by the Environmental Protection Agency for indoor use.

As mainstream media consolidate and go through staff cuts, this kind of investigative reporting becomes less common. The CPI is looking to support this kind of study through donations, for one thing, to avoid the model of news produced by a unit of a giant corporation such as GE or Disney, where conflicts of interest between honest reporting and protecting the corporate image or profit arise. The Center for Public Integrity is not the only organization seeking to decouple investigative reporting from the corporate economic sphere, and I will write about some of the other efforts in the future. This model and the quality of the information, as well as the interesting interactive features of this web reporting is worth a read. However, if you don’t have time to read the story, you can download an audio version to your iPod or iPhone, and listen on the go.

Do you have comments or questions about this story, or this emerging form of investigative reporting? I’ll be checking back to see if we get a discussion going.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *