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In Spring 2005, media outlets began reporting on the use of foster children in drug experiments ("AIDS Drugs Tested," 2005). Although this may have been new information to major U.S. outlets, the BBC began reporting on the testing of AIDS drugs on foster children during fall 2004 (Doran, 2004). Vulnerable children in state custody have been subject to experiments in the past--for example, the 1950s radioactive milk testing on developmentally disabled children at Fernald and the 1960s hepatitis testing on developmentally disabled children at Willowbrook--experiments that were so egregious that procedures to ensure the protection of human subjects became a requirement for anyone receiving federal research support (Resnick, 2005). One such protection is the appointment of independent advocates to ensure that safeguards are in place and that children are not exposed to unjustified risk of harm. It is urgent that professional organizations such as the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), the Child Welfare League of America, the Children's Defense Fund, and other groups expand their efforts on behalf of children used as research subjects. On June 29, 2005, the U.S. Senate passed two amendments to limit the testing of pesticides on humans ("Critics Claim," 2005). These amendments were in response to a plan by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the chemical industry to pay parents to apply pesticides and chemicals in rooms primarily occupied by infants. After much discussion, the EPA announced new rules on dosing children with pesticides on January 26, 2006. The rules indicated that human subject protections would be advanced to pregnant women and children. There are, however, exceptions to these protections. Only studies that fail to substantially comply with the new rules will be rejected. If there are significant public health benefits, the EPA may choose to accept ethically flawed studies (Stokstad, 2005). These exceptions indicate that children may still be subject to pesticide testing.

January 1
National Association of Social Workers
The Gale Group, Inc., a Delaware corporation and an affiliate of Cengage Learning, Inc.

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