Columns

MANAGING BEST PRACTICES: Children's environmental health:

January 11, 2009
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+


Children’s environmental health will be a priority in the Obama administration. For us EHS pros this means we should prepare for a renewed emphasis on reproductive health hazards.

Under the Clinton Administration, EPA considered children’s environmental health to include risks such as parental occupational exposures to toxicants before conceiving a child and maternal exposures during gestation. Going forward, whenever you hear or read the term “pregnant” insert the term “child” and whenever the term “environment” comes up be aware that it may include the workplace.

Trendlines

In January 2008, EPA announced the agency awarded more than $500,000 in grants to state health agencies to help reduce environmental risks to pregnant women. EPA’s news release said that pregnancy is a time for joy and celebration, “but it is also a time to be especially careful about the environment in which one works and lives.” The emphasis on work is mine, but it draws a focus on this growing issue.

EPA issued new rules to protect children against lead-based paint hazards in March 2008. The rules specifically address pregnant women, too. Barack Obama felt that the EPA rules left too many pregnant women and children unprotected and he promised more stringent legislation.

In September 2008, Obama joined Sen. Clinton to cosponsor S. 3495: Protect Pregnant Women and Children from Dangerous Lead Exposures Act of 2008.

Research dollars

In October 2008, Michigan’s ailing economy received good news when the National Institute of Health doled out $57 million in funding to the state’s top research universities to carry out their role in the National Children’s Study.

Likewise, Florida, through the University of Miami Medical School, is smiling about their October 2008 receipt of $54.6 million dollars for their part in the NCS.

Subtle point, huge issue

The study on children’s health begins before birth; which means the study will include information on parental exposures before conceiving a child and maternal exposures during pregnancy.

Occupational exposures are included in the study. Workplace information will be acquired through interviews, completed questionnaires, and from tissue (e.g. blood, urine, sperm and hair and biological and chemical samples). Although most samples will be collected from the home environment, researchers will not be precluded from determining if the exposures have a workplace origin. For example, if researchers find lead in tissue samples or lead contamination in the home they may track its source back to the workplace.

Politics

The NCS was a concept that originated with President Clinton’s May 1997 Executive Order 13045 on the Protection of Children from Environmental Risks and Safety Risks. Congress authorized the NCS under the Children’s Health Act of 2000.

President Bush did not favor Clinton’s executive order on children’s environmental health, and by 2005 the Bush administration effectively shut the order down.

The Bush administration’s “neglect” is now being investigated by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Its first report was released on September 16, 2008. Sen. Clinton’s response to the GAO report: “Ten years after the landmark work of the Clinton Administration, this is the state of children’s health protection at the EPA: no leadership, no resources, no initiative, and no real mission. It’s a disaster and it’s a disgrace, and we have to fix it.”

Global leadership

President Clinton’s order paved the way for the U.S. to lead the world in children’s environmental health. Bush’s actions slowed the country down and by 2004 Europe leapfrogged past America when it established and began carrying out the Children’s Environment and Action Plan for Europe (CEHAPE).

One thing is certain: change is coming and you need to be prepared. For example, if your workplace is located in one of the NCS locations (counties) your facility’s OSHA and EPA hazard and risk communication programs should be complementary and kept up-to-date.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to ISHN.

Recent Articles by Dan Markiewicz, MS, CIH, CSP, CHMM

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

Scenes from the World of Safety

Sights, signs & symbols from the National Safety Congress & Expo held in San Diego, CA, September 15-18

11/4/14 2:00 pm EST

Eye Injuries: You rarely see them coming. Practical Solutions for reducing injuries to the eye.

The 3M Eye Injury Reduction webinar will provide an examination of how to help solve eye injuries in the workplace. This issue continues to challenge virtually every industry, and the solution is often times multifaceted. 3M will share some new tools and approaches to help you in solving this issue.

ISHN Magazine

ISHN1014_cover.jpg

2014 October

This issue features articles about PPE safety and OSHA standards

Table Of Contents Subscribe

THE ISHN STORE

M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\ISHN\safetyfourth.jpg
Safety Engineering, 4th Edition

A practical, solutions-driven reference, Safety Engineering, 4th edition, has been completely revised and updated to reflect many of today’s issues in safety.

More Products

For Distributors Only - SEPTEMBER 2014

ISHN FDO SEPTEMBER 2014For Distributors Only is ISHN's niche brand standard-sized magazine supplement aimed at an audience of 2,000 U.S. distributors that sell safety products. Circulation only goes to distributors. CHECK OUT THE SEPTEMBER 2014 ISSUE OF FDO HERE

STAY CONNECTED

Facebook logo Twitter YouTubeLinkedIn Google + icon

ishn infographics

2012 US workplace deathsCheck out ISHN's new Infographic page! Learn more about worker safety through these interactive images. CLICK HERE to view the page.