Ever hear of the Nuremberg code? Many have not. Some think its about Nazi behavior. It is. Sort of. Any parallels expressed or implied are completely coincidental. Check back here later to read it. Moving on...
Organic Consumers Association is an organization that sends out periodic consumer alerts, worth a plug. Now before you groan and say "oh great, a granola head in our midst" I just want to let you know that despite my penchance for histrionic fact collection, this latest has me pacing around in spite of the whispers from the CB-like muse on my shoulder that says "beware hippie hysteria". I've been following this for a while, though. Its evil.
(Sigh) I know that I rant off the cuff and that I have more than one grassy knoll post under my belt. My suspicions are often fodder for mockery, I talk about 'feelings' and diversity... my angst has been the subject of attacks by even those in close blogmind proximity that do not know of my personal real-time work, that assume that I regularly whore and hack for Democrats, Chomsky, Guthrie, Phish, or the Bonotypes... whatever...reading "Mother Jones" all day lamenting my apathetic mind. Yeah, I suck at contriving posts that are snarkaliciously juicy. A pit bull, I'm not. I have a kid named after the weather, after all. I am an emotional train wreck and this impedes my clarity. I don't blog to win.
What can I say? BUT- being a stereotypical liberal does not mean I bleed marijuana or cannot speak to truth. I am about awareness, not making a sport of being a contrarian. Sometimes a clumsy heartfelt post is all I can manage, sans the linkopedia. But I offer my rant here regardless, because it involves testing on children. And ok, I'll throw in some links.
Per OCA: "Public comments are now being accepted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on its newly proposed federal regulation regarding the testing of chemicals and pesticides on human subjects. On August 2, 2005, Congress had mandated the EPA create a rule that permanently bans chemical testing on pregnant women and children, without exception. But the EPA's newly proposed rule is ridden with exceptions where chemical studies may be performed on children in certain situations like the following: Children who "cannot be reasonably consulted," such as those that are mentally handicapped or orphaned newborns, may be tested on. With permission from the institution or guardian in charge of the individual, the child may be exposed to chemicals for the sake of research. Parental consent forms are not necessary for testing on children who have been neglected or abused. Chemical studies on any children outside of the U.S. are acceptable. "
Yes, it does suggest the convenience of utilizing abused children, such expedient permission!!! And the spectre of institutional abuse, a staple of American progress!
Now in an earlier thread, we touched briefly on the theme of "The Constant Gardener" and pharmaceutical testing in Africa. While this is fiction (and I am digressing, see the problem?) there have been many documented cases involving pharmaceuticals, HIV, TB, and opportunistic infections on African populations. This is not a new topic in some circles. But it is arguably a new topic in mainstream America because until recently little attention has been paid to chemical testing in general- not among our military, our children, or the world's children.
Last year when the media began reporting proposals to test chemicals (pesticides, etc.) on American children for modest compensation, groups got on board to campaign for congressional intervention to reign in the EPA. Citing discrimination against the poor, and legal challenges- they forced the EPA to revise their standards. "Revise"=key word:
70 FR 53865 26.408(a) "The IRB (Independent Review Board) shall determine that adequate provisions are made for soliciting the assent of the children, when in the judgment of the IRB the children are capable of providing assent...If the IRB determines that the capability of some or all of the children is so limited that they cannot reasonably be consulted, the assent of the children is not a necessary condition for proceeding with the research. Even where the IRB determines that the subjects are capable of assenting, the IRB may still waive the assent requirement..."
Now according to the OCA:
"Under this clause, a mentally handicapped child or infant orphan could be tested on without assent. This violates the Nuremberg Code, an international treaty that mandates assent of test subjects as "absolutely essential," and that the test subject must have "legal capacity to give consent" and must be "so situated as to exercise free power of choice." This loophole in the rule must be completely removed. "
Read the EPA request for public comment, and learn more about the EPA's perspective here.
Read the National Academies Press Response "Intentional Human Dosing Studies for EPA Regulatory Purposes: Scientific and Ethical Issues" and the NRDC statements here.
For information about the Snopes entry, which was actually not directly related to this alert, read the response here.
Whether it's testing of pesticides, medicine, immunizations, MKULTRA, exposing innocent people to white phosphorous or depleted uranium, I believe that we need to take a stand against the exploitive use of 'disposable' or 'ass-owned' populations. While I can support PETA and groups defending humane treatment of animals, lets see Hollywood come out for children who cannot speak out against the use of their bodies, who must rely on the sanity of adults and the scant protections afforded by law. Lets see Americans valuing children, not reducing them to test subjects. Lets see parents get involved, not try to make a quick buck on exposing their kids to pesticides. Lets see Veterans and military families rage about the injections, exposures, 'lost records', babies born to Gulf war vets with chromosomal abnormalities... Lets see bloggers pause from sparring about the President, the neocons, and the war for five minutes to consider the prospects of these children. How 'bout it? Humor the hippie?