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Toxic Pesticide Risk Is Seen for Public School Children By LYDIA POLGREEN hildren who live in public housing go to public schools and play in parks in cities across the state are being exposed to high levels of toxic pesticides according to a report released yesterday by Attorney General Eliot Spitzer The study which surveyed 15 parks schools and public housing projects in New York City Albany Buffalo Syracuse and Yonkers as well as 73 shops found that highly toxic pesticides were being used frequently even though less toxic and equally effective pesticides were available In public housing apartments Mr Spitzer said Pesticides were being applied in massive dosages on a regular basis whether or not there was any need Public health experts said pesticides were dangerous chemicals that should be used sparingly not routinely Childrens developing organ systems are highly vulnerable to pesticides said Dr Philip J Landrigan director of the Center for Childrens Health and the Environment at Mount Sinai School of Medicine Some pesticides are linked to increased risk of cancer and injury to the brain and nervous system Dr Landrigan said Allan James president of Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment a trade group representing urban pesticide suppliers said the report was alarmist He said legal pesticides were approved by the Environmental Protection Agency and were deemed safe when applied properly These reports only cause fear in the public Mr James said The attorney general of New York has used these kinds of reports to promote a political agenda for some time Mr Spitzer is running for re-election this year But people who fight pesticide use say chemicals the EPA deems safe sometimes turn out to be dangerous and are later restricted We live in a chemical soup said Audrey Thier pesticide project director at Environmental Advocates There is a cumulative effect from different exposure sources and we do not know how they interact
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