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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

Ohio children are being harmed by toxic chemicals

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Thursday, November 9, 2023   

Children of color and from low-income families in Ohio and across the nation are not only exposed to more dangerous toxic chemicals including lead, tailpipe and other air pollution, plastics and pesticides; they also experience disproportionate harm to brain development compared to their white and higher income peers, according to a new report.

Devon Payne-Sturges, associate professor of environmental health at the University of Maryland and the report's co-author, said five decades of data show poverty exacerbates the effect of pollution.

"Studies have found that the combined experience, say, of exposure to lead in the environment -- and being from an impoverished community, or a low-income family -- actually worsened the negative cognitive impacts," Payne-Sturges reported.

Interventions, such as replacing lead pipes bringing drinking water into homes, are important. But she argued counting on people to avoid exposure at the individual level will not work, because toxins are found in so many places and products people use every day.

Payne-Sturges emphasized policies are needed at the national level to address the cumulative public health effects.

"If you really want to ensure that kids grow up in a healthy environment that is also good for their brain development, we need a strategy that addresses these contaminants all together," Payne-Sturges contended.

Payne-Sturges stressed it is also important to look at how pollutants end up where children live. She pointed out communities of color are not simply making bad decisions about where to raise families. Unhealthy environments are a result of decisions made by industry leaders and government policies.

"A long history related to discriminatory practices," Payne-Sturges outlined. "Residential segregation that forced people only to live in certain places, that often happened to be places where polluting industries would site."

This reporting was supported in part by Media in the Public Interest and the George Gund Foundation.



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