Tuesday, October 26, 2010

EPA Administrator Jackson Addresses "Toxic Chemicals and Children's Health"

As noted yesterday, today was a subcommittee hearing called "Toxic Chemicals and Children's Environmental Health" in Newark, New Jersey and chaired by New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg.  The lead testimony was from EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.

Jackson noted that "[w]hile chemicals have improved our lives in many ways, there are still significant scientific gaps in our understanding of the health risks of many chemicals."  She called out the special nature of protecting children from chemical exposure, and that there are cultural and socioeconomic differences as well:
Ensuring that our children are protected from exposure to environmental threats is central to EPA’s work. Children face greater threats from environmental pollutants than adults due to differences in their physiology, activity patterns and development. And not all children are the same: we continue to see disparities in exposures and health outcomes among the poor, African American, Latino, Native American and other ethnic minorities.
She also reminded us all that children have differences in metabolism, eating habits, and motor behavior that significantly increase their chances of exposure as well as the potential ramifications of such exposure on physiological, morphological, and immunological systems that are not fully developed.

Jackson reiterated the six principles that she had introduced just over a year ago and called again for Congress to take action to reform the 34 year old Toxic Substances Control Act.  And finished by noting:

Further, legislative reform of TSCA should address a number of other areas the Administration believers are important in modernizing this nation’s chemicals management efforts, such as encouraging the development and use of green chemistry and adoption of safer alternatives. It should impose stricter requirements for assertion of confidentiality claims while allowing the sharing of critical data – with appropriate safeguards – with state governments also regulating chemicals.

Her full testimony and that of the other witnesses can be found here.

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