‘Kids don’t get a second chance’

WASHINGTON-  The Environmental Protection Agency’s advisory panel on children’s health gathered last week to consider a few items that had long been on its agenda: getting lead out of water, cutting pollution-related asthma, and educating doctors about toxins in toys.

The panel also took up an issue that few members could have foreseen several months ago: keeping the program off the chopping block.

The big question is how the new EPA will implement the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act.

The law, which President Obama signed in June, revised EPA’s handling of toxic substances, giving the agency new clout and setting deadlines for reviewing chemicals of concern. The legislation was the subject of debate for more than a dozen years, and was championed by New Jersey Democratic Senator Lautenberg, whose backing paved the way to bipartisan consensus on the measure.

So, what will happen now?

“The biggest thing from our corner of the world is the implementation of the Lautenberg reforms,” said Elizabeth Hitchcock, legislative director for Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, a coalition of public health and environmental groups. “The law gave EPA new tools in its toolbox to get dangerous chemicals out of the marketplace. Now, it’s a question of whether they will use them.”

Read the rest of Sheila Kaplan’s important article about environmental health and children, here.

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