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Children's Health Protection

Letter from Melanie Marty to Administrator Johnson regarding Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units

August 5, 2008

Stephen L. Johnson, Administrator
United States Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20460

RE: Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units

Dear Administrator Johnson:

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units (PEHSU) program, an initiative of the EPA and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. In this context, the Children's Health Protection Advisory Committee (CHPAC) established the PEHSU Task Group to assess the capability and effectiveness of the PEHSU program in addressing children's environmental health on regional, community and individual levels. Overall, we found the PEHSU program is an outstanding example of collaborative, interagency responsiveness to the Executive Order of April 21, 1997, "Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks" and represents an excellent investment in children's health consistent with EPA's mission. We commend your continued support of this outstanding program.

In addition, we are pleased to offer these further observations. The PEHSU program:

  • Provides leadership on children's environmental health issues related to air, water and soil quality, chemical exposures, school health, built environment and climate change;
  • Is instrumental in enhancing the practice and training of health professionals to prevent, diagnose, manage and treat children's environmental health conditions;
  • Establishes effective partnerships with the EPA regional offices, Children’s Environmental Health Research Centers and other organizations, including nonprofits and community-based groups; and
  • Through partnerships, addresses significant children's health issues, including environmental health disparities, escalating asthma incidence, rising obesity rates, natural and human-made disasters (such as the recent wildfires in California), and other community and public health needs.

Attached are the PEHSU Task Group's findings, which offer more detailed information about the Task Group's process and analysis. We hope this report will help to inform and enhance the future of the PEHSU program.

We would be happy to discuss any of our findings and suggestions with you or your designee. Thank you for your consideration.


Melanie A. Marty, Ph.D., Chair
Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee

Cc: Howard Frumkin, Director, National Center for Environmental Health, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry;
Ruth McCully, Director, US EPA Office of Children's Health Protection and Environmental Education


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