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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

TSCA Overhaul Long Overdue continued...

Palfrey does not see the legislation passing anytime soon but hopes he is wrong.

“It is great that the Academy has put together this statement because it is right for children,” he says. “Europe, Canada, and other countries are far, far ahead of us in terms of making these regulations.”

Palfrey says that “parents need to understand that this country is putting out all sorts of compounds and chemicals into the environment and nobody knows if they are safe or not,” he says.

“We try to eat safely, cook safely, and live safely, but studies have shown that these chemicals are getting into our bodies as mothers, fathers, children, and fetuses and may be causing an increase in asthma, autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and other illnesses,” he says.

“Don’t tilt against windmills,” he says. “Vaccines have been studied extraordinarily carefully, and we are not paying attention to the many chemicals that are used commercially,” he says.

“Wash your food very carefully, buy products whose safety you do know and urge others who are influencing your air, water, and food to think about your children and work with state and federal representatives to make this a safer country than it is,” Palfrey says.

Industry Trade Group for Reform

“We agree that the Toxic Substances Control Act needs to be modernized to further ensure the safe use of chemicals and the innovation of new products,” says Scott Jensen, a spokesman for the Washington, D.C.-based American Chemistry Council.

“Beyond TSCA, the federal government and industry are working together to protect children’s health through programs like the High Production Volume (HPV) Challenge Program,” he says.

Under this program, manufacturers provide hazard information to the EPA, including information that is directly relevant for screening potential hazards to children’s health and development, he says.

“The ACC also strongly supports the National Children's Study, which promises to be the largest and most comprehensive study of children’s health and development ever planned in the United States,” he says. The study will follow a large sample of children from across the U.S. and examine the potential effects of a broad range of environmental influences including chemicals.

In sum, “ACC believes we must work together to shape a chemical safety framework that fosters innovation and economic growth, while continuing to assure protection of public health and the environment,” Jensen says.

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