Building Worse Mousetraps?

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This rat-poison story seems a bit arcane, but here’s a noteworthy paragraph from the Washington Post‘s coverage:

The battle over how to regulate rat poison started in August 1998 when the Clinton administration approved its use as long as manufacturers added a bittering agent and a dye that made it more obvious if a child ingested the poison. Three years later, Bush administration officials rescinded the requirements, on the grounds that they would make the poison less attractive to rats and could damage household property.

Let’s see, dead children or stained rugs? Guess we know which one the Bush administration would pick. Meanwhile, Joshua Kurlantzick reported the backstory on this whole affair for Mother Jones earlier this year:

[The Environmental Protection Agency]’s career scientists began preparing a full assessment of the dangers [of rat poison], which was completed in September 2001. In keeping with standard procedure, the report was to be made available to the pesticide industry and the public for up to 90 days, allowing interested parties to review it. The document, which said rat poisons were toxic to “nontarget species” — that is, humans and other animals — presented strong evidence for limiting the sale of some of the chemicals to licensed users.

But in a departure from normal procedures, the EPA held the comment process open for more than a year. During this period, it allowed the pesticide industry, organized in a coalition called the Rodenticide Registrants Task Force (RRTF), to go well beyond making the usual technical corrections.

Read the rest for details. “Bush administration privileges industry buddies over scientific evidence” isn’t exactly a new story, but that doesn’t make it any less important.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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