This has happened because of Donald Trump’s policies, marking a before and after in the context of child health in the United States, including Latin American children discriminated against for their origin and other children neglected due to erroneous policies.
Yosvany Noguet Rodríguez
The situation of more than four thousand Latin American children raised awareness in the international community after becoming victims of a cold Christmas in cages on the Mexican border, in custody of the immigration authorities, following orders imposed by the Trump administration.
The migration drama has been maybe one of the most deeply felt in this chapter of the current presidency, first for its unfulfilled promise to build a border wall to curb migration and then for its treatment of the frontier communities and those within the country.
Regarding the border, these acts were classified on a global level as one of the most inhuman policies ever seen in history, above all because of the controversial separation of children from their parents.
Experts have agreed that these actions threaten both the immediate and long-term physical and mental health of these children and family members who experienced these unimaginable and difficult circumstances.
Voices of dissent came together from throughout the United States to criticise these policies and to make them more visible, although according to analyst’s criteria they are not the only damaging ones for the country’s children.
Trump vs Science, the long-term risks.
The US President with his decisions made without considering scientific knowledge puts the development of the children in danger, and both their and their family’s health, long term.
A new report published by the magazine Scientific American shows how the children are victims of collateral damage in the war against science carried on by the current White House administration.
The research documents the way in which the federal agencies ignored scientific criteria in adopting decisions that go against the public interest and ignore scientific evidence with firm foundations.
Ten different case studies illustrate the concrete impact of the decisions to reverse or weaken environmental policies or public health – impacts that specifically affect children equally in both the short and long term.
Nowadays, product recalls for children’s products are at their lowest levels in a decade and the number of fines given for bad corporate conduct has fallen by half.
The number of product recalls for children’s products fell by 60% between 2016 and 2017, and instead of addressing the problem, the relevant specialist agency abolished the team who were in charge of investigating defective children’s products in 2018.
And weaker air-pollution rules may expose children to higher levels of pollutants such as fine particles or ground-level ozone.
These would be the causes behind hundreds of thousands of asthma attacks, respiratory illnesses and lost days at school that could have been avoided with the application of policies based on scientific results, in the experts’ opinions.
The Trump administration has also introduced new rules restricting access to food assistance programmes that keep millions of people out of poverty.
And this is without mentioning environmental pollution, particularly for babies and foetuses from before birth until eight years old, because their bodily systems are still developing during this time. The early exposure to toxic substances can affect the development of these children, both physically and mentally for the whole of their lives.
Amongst these unsolved issues is the provision of refuges, for minors and their families in the case of environmental catastrophes, for whom the assistance sent to Puerto Rico leaves a lot to think about in terms of the lack of provision.
Expert analysis shows that the current administration has reversed protection, meaning that children will be more exposed to the damage caused by chemical toxins in the water, air and from products used in the home.
To make matters worse, Trump has put obstacles in the way of the production of new knowledge about the way in which children specifically are affected, and threatened the protection for women of child-bearing age.
On the other hand, children from low-income families are the most affected by the cuts in programmes designed to help them out of poverty. And the straw that broke the camel’s back for child development continues in full view of everyone: it is the use of fire-arms, the cause of death of 35 thousand 712 people, of these 190 were children between 0 and 11 years of age and 698 teenagers between 12 and 17 years old, according to last year’s official figures. (PL)
(Translated by Carol M Byrne) – Photos: Pixabay