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Children's Health Protection

Letter from Melanie Marty to Administrator Jackson regarding EPA’s America’s Children and the Environment (ACE) Report


September 9, 2009

Lisa P. Jackson, Administrator
United States Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20460

RE: EPA’s America's Children and the Environment (ACE) Report

Dear Administrator Jackson:

The EPA's ACE report provides an opportunity for EPA to lead the nation by quantifying indicators of the environment's effects on children’s health. The first ACE report, America's Children and the Environment: A First View of Available Measures, was published in December 2000. The second report, America's Children and the Environment: Measures of Contaminants, Body Burdens and Illnesses, was published in February 2003. The team at EPA responsible for this important and unique document has been updating the 2003 version on the web on a regular basis (http://www.epa.gov/envirohealth/children/). The ACE program represents EPA's recognition of the special vulnerabilities of children, the persistence of disparities in exposures and outcomes among various group in our nation, and the increasing evidence that childhood exposures are antecedents of adult disease. The availability of new data supports EPA's decision to revise this important report.

EPA requested input from the Children's Health Protection Advisory Committee (CHPAC) on whether to produce a new edition of the ACE report and what topics to include. CHPAC created a Talk Group to review these questions. The attached document indicates the input from the Task Group to EPA staff. This cover letter represents the consensus of the CHPAC as a whole.

CHPAC Recommendations for America's Children and the Environment Report

First, the CHPAC recommends that you support the revision of the ACE report, and consider the suggestions in the attached task group findings. We recommend that EPA highlight those issues where our knowledge is limited and where there is a need for increased monitoring and further research.

Additionally, the CHPAC recommends:
  • that the National Center for Environmental Economics (NCEE) and the Office of Children's Health Protection (OCHP) continue to provide leadership roles in this collaborative undertaking, and that all appropriate program offices of EPA be involved in the formulation of the ACE3 reports;
  • that EPA work other federal agencies, and regional, state, and local agencies that have responsibilities relevant to children's environmental health, and with non-government organizations to
    • increase their engagement in contributing information and data for the report;
    • encourage their use of the ACE 3 Report when it is completed;
  • that EPA ensure the broad dissemination of the ACE3 Report in formats suitable for multiple audiences, and in on-going activities with the rest of the executive branch, Congress, parents, health care providers, educators, and the nation as a whole;
  • that EPA consider using the ACE3 Report throughout the agency for internal strategic planning.
To further promote children's environmental health and improve future ACE reports, CHPAC recommends that EPA continue to:
  • work to develop comprehensive data on exposure and health effects that reflect the full extent of exposure in children from before conception through adolescence in environments where they live, learn, play and work;
  • pursue increased monitoring and further research particularly for those areas highlighted in ACE3 as important but lacking information to develop an indicator;
  • promote the use of data for environmental health tracking;
  • consider using the indicators for policy changes that improve children's health;
  • continue to provide leadership on global indicators of children’s environmental health. The ACE report can contribute models for the development of global environmental health indicators.
Thank you for considering our recommendations. We are grateful for your expressed commitment to children’s environmental health, and are happy to discuss our recommendations and suggestions with you or your designee. CHPAC looks forward to continuing to work with you to protect the health of the nation’s children from environmental hazards.

Sincerely,

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

Cc: Lisa Heinzerling, Associate Administrator for Policy, Economics and Innovation
Al McGartland, Director, National Center for Environmental Economics
Peter Grevatt, Director OCHP
Daniel Axelrad, Environmental Scientist, National Center for Environmental Economics

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