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Children's Health

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Pediatricians Seek Stiffer Regulation of Chemicals

Pediatrician Group Says Current Legislation Does Not Adequately Protect Children, Pregnant Women

What the AAP Wants continued...

As it stands now, the TSCA does neither, he says.

Current and future parents do not have to wait for Congress to act, he says.

“There is sufficient information for parents to make decisions about certain chemicals like Bisphenol-A,” Paulsen says. Many manufacturers have already taken steps to eliminate the BPA found in baby bottles and cups because of health risks.

“Unfortunately, because of the inadequacy of the overall system, parents and others cannot assume that ‘because it is on the market it must have been approved by the government' and it must be safe,” he says. “Individuals need to become advocates for change and demand pre-market testing, post-market surveillance and a system managed by EPA to collect this data and make decisions about the safety of chemicals.”

Andy Igrejas, national campaign director for Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families in Washington, D.C, a coalition seeking to overhaul TSCA, says that the pediatricians are a little late to this game.

But Igrejas remains optimistic about the passage of TSCA reform on a national level. He says there is a “good chance” that there will be some movement on the legislation in the Senate before year’s end.

Not everyone agrees.

“The last thing we need to do in a slowly recovering economy is to give an already over-cautious EPA more regulatory powers to fix a problem that does not exist,” says Jeff Stier, the director of risk analysis at the National Center for Public Policy Research in Washington, D.C.

“Children are not falling ill from exposure to low levels of chemical,” he says. “Most measures of childhood health have improved dramatically at the very time new chemicals have been developed and used.”

TSCA Overhaul Long Overdue

Even some of those in favor of TSCA reform are not overly optimistic about TSCA reform.

The new statement is “very timely, but there is so much opposition to TSCA reform from a political standpoint,” says Sean Palfrey, MD, a professor of clinical pediatrics and public health at Boston University.

TSCA reform is “two-plus decades overdue,” he says.

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