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Children's Health Protection

Letter to Adminstrator McCarthy Regarding EPA Leadership for Children's Environmental Health


August 16, 2013


Gina McCarthy, Administrator
United States Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20460


RE: EPA Leadership for Children’s Environmental Health

Dear Administrator McCarthy:

We congratulate you on your recent confirmation as Administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). We applaud your support of policies and strategies to address climate change to protect the planet for our current and future generations. We hope that you will call upon us if we can assist in considering particular aspects relevant for children.

The Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee supports initiatives that ensure healthy childhood environments. As you know, children are often the most vulnerable to many environmental hazards.

In recent years, EPA identified children’s environmental health as an Agency-wide priority which led to several important initiatives and achievements. Children’s health initiatives are not focused in any single program or office but require efforts across the Agency. Leadership and support of the Administrator is critical to maintaining adequate focus on children’s health in these diverse program areas. We appreciate the significant contributions to children’s health made by the Office for Air and Radiation during your tenure as Assistant Administrator. We urge you to share your vision and commitment to children’s environmental health with the Agency, its partners, and constituents in the first few weeks of your tenure as Administrator.

We would also like to draw to your attention the importance of the Office of Children’s Health Protection (OCHP). In our experience, we have found that strong leadership of the office has been integral to the promotion of children’s environmental health initiatives within the Agency. OCHP interacts with program offices and scientific experts within and outside the Agency to contribute to tangible steps to advance children’s environmental health. The director has a complex mix of roles that include: providing technical and scientific advice to the Administrator and other senior leaders; acting as an effective advocate to engage other staff in finding ways to integrate children’s health with other Agency priorities; and providing leadership and connectivity to outside partners and stakeholders in the national movement to improve children’s environmental health. This mix of responsibilities requires an exceptional individual.

Currently, we are facing increasingly complex environmental risks and outcomes for children that require unique expertise. Therefore, we encourage you to take the timely steps necessary to identify a director who has a demonstrated commitment to children’s environmental health and can make children’s health a priority inside and outside the Agency. This may involve conducting a national search for a permanent OCHP director. We would be happy to assist you in any capacity during this process.

The Agency’s focus on children’s health has led to real gains in environmental quality for children in homes, schools, child care, and outdoor environments. We look forward to working with you to continue this productive process that will improve the health of our children and those in future generations. We invite you to join us during our November meeting in Washington DC so that we can learn about your vision and discuss how we might best offer our expertise and assistance in furthering children’s environmental health protections.

Thank you for your commitment to children’s environmental health.

Sincerely,

Pamela Shubat, Ph.D.
CHPAC Co-Chair


Sheela Sathyanarayana, M.D., M.P.H.
CHPAC Co-Chair

CHPAC Co-Authors: Robert Amler, MD, Susan Buchanan, MD, MPH, Tyra Bryant-Stephens, MD, Gail Cynthia Christopher, ND, Nancy Clark, MA, CIH, CSP, Jennifer Counts, PhD, Rochelle Davis, Maida Galvez, MD, MPH, Peggy Nilsson Geimer, MD, David Jacobs, PhD, CIH, Lloyd Kolbe, PhD, MS, Sandra W. Kuntz, PhD, APRN, CNS, Amy D. Kyle, PhD, MPH, Lawrence Lash, PhD, Jeanne Leffers, PhD, RN, Jennifer Lowry, MD, Leyla McCurdy, MPhil, Marie Lynn Miranda, PhD, Thomas Neltner, JD, CHMM, Nsedu Obot-Witherspoon, MPH, Jerome Paulson, MD, FAAP, Brenda Reyes, MD, MPH, Martha S. Sandy, PhD, MPH, Adam Spanier, MD, PhD, MPH

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