A friend recently put me in touch with Janet Brown (not her real name). This is a woman from Chicago who had the misfortune of renting an apartment that had been sprayed with the neurotoxic pesticide chlorpyrifos. Dow/DuPont produces this deleterious substance.
In late August 2018, Janet Brown visited me and we spent several hours talking. Her real education started in the poisoned apartment in Chicago.
She had read my book, Poison Spring. She wanted to talk.
A poisoned apartment
Our discussion was mostly about pesticides and the Environmental Protection Agency, which “regulates” toxic pesticides like chlorpyrifos. I told Janet Brown a few of my EPA stories. And she told me her astonishing story.
Janet Brown grew up in Illinois. She got married to a doctor. She had hopes of becoming a doctor herself. However, the poisoned apartment blew up in her face, causing a tsunami of psychological and health adversities and pain.
The tragedy took place in the 1990s. Janet Brown gave birth to two children. The apartment landlord informed her he was spraying the apartment. He did that for a decade.
The effects of chlorpyrifos poisoning were devastating to her and her children. She had trouble staying awake. She was confused, ill, and endured chronic and savage headaches. The children screamed for days and months. They could barely crawl, walk and talk. Experts said autism explained their hyperactivity, inability to pay attention, low self-esteem, and aggressive behavior.
This tyranny of disease, the perpetual anguish of the mother, and the ceaseless pain of the children: their constant humiliations in school, the incomprehensible anger and hidden violence boiling over at home and everywhere else, teenagers unable to sign their name or find their shoes – all but annihilated their future.
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