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Children's Health Protection

2008 Children's Environmental Health Champions

The Children’s Environmental Health Champion Recognition Program is designed to recognize ongoing and sustainable dedication to, and notable leadership in, protecting children from environmental health risks at the local, regional, national, and international level. The 2008 Champions were nominated by EPA staff and selected for this honor because of their tireless efforts to protect children from environmental health risks.

National Children's Environmental Health Champion
Dr. Melanie Marty

The National Children’s Environmental Health Champion is recognized for outstanding efforts and commitment to advancing children’s environmental health issues across the nation. EPA is pleased to recognize Dr. Melanie Marty, pharmacologist, toxicologist, and Chief of the Air Toxicology and Epidemiology Branch at Cal/EPA’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), as the 2008 National Children’s Environmental Health Champion. California is a leader in raising awareness about environmental health risks to children in large part due to Dr. Marty’s leadership.

Dr. Marty is the lead for risk assessment in the Criteria Air Pollutant program, the Air Toxics Hot Spots program and the Toxic Air Contaminant program, and is responsible for much of the implementation of California’s Children’s Environmental Health Protection Act. Dr. Marty has been instrumental in addressing key risk assessment issues related to children’s environmental health and incorporating the consideration of children’s special susceptibilities into health-based recommendations for California’s Ambient Air Quality Standards, the risk assessment of Toxic Air Contaminants, and the assessment of facility-specific risks from airborne emissions. Under Dr. Marty’s direction, OEHHA has released new risk assessment guidelines for developing protective values for chemicals that specifically incorporate consideration of the differences between infants, children and adults in the disposition and response to toxicants.

Through the development of a series of Cal/EPA-OEHHA sponsored symposia, Dr. Marty brought together state and federal regulatory toxicologists and university researchers to present information on risks to children from chemical exposure. She has participated in numerous EPA peer reviews and scientific committees on issues related to assessing exposure to infants and children, and developing a framework for assessing children’s risk from environmental chemicals.

Dr. Marty has been Chair of the EPA’s Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee (CHPAC) since 2001. As Chair, she has led the committee towards consensus recommendations to the EPA Administrator regarding a wide range of issues under EPA’s purview. She has also been a valuable participant on the EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB) and served as CHPAC’s liaison to the SAB.

Dr. Marty has provided testimony to the California state legislature as well as to the Air Resources Board on the health effects of air pollution on children, and has presented often on scientific issues related to children’s environmental health at events such as meetings of the Society of Toxicology, meetings of state regulatory toxicologists, and university seminars and symposia. Dr. Marty is a recognized leader in children’s environmental health in both the scientific and policy arena.

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International Children’s Environmental Health Champion
Dr. Jenny Pronczuk de Garbino

The International Children’s Environmental Health Champion is recognized for outstanding efforts and commitment to advancing children’s environmental health issues around the world. EPA is pleased to recognize Dr. Jenny Pronczuk de Garbino as the 2008 International Children’s Environmental Health Champion.

Dr. Jenny Pronczuk de Garbino, physician and medical officer at the World Health Organization (WHO), leads the activities on children’s health and the environment at its Department of Public Health and Environment. As the Principal Investigator of a grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, she is involved in international research promoting advancing children’s environmental health.

Dr. Pronczuk de Garbino has worked tirelessly to raise awareness about environmental threats to children’s health. She planned and coordinated the First International Conference on Children’s Environmental Health in Bangkok, Thailand, in 2002, which released the Bangkok Statement, a call for action to protect children from environmental threats. In 2005, she organized the Second International Conference on Children’s Environmental Health: Healthy Environments, Healthy Children in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She has convened numerous meetings and expert workshops that have brought children’s environmental health issues to the attention of policy makers, health educators and providers, and others.

The Long Term Cohort Studies (LTCS) project she founded brought together international experts to identify and assess the effects of a broad range of environmental factors on children’s health. She also developed a Training Package for the Health Sector, a series of children’s environmental health modules used to train health care providers in developing countries. As a result, providers now have basic knowledge of children’s environmental health topics to help them diagnose and manage illness in children.

In 2005, Dr. Pronczuk de Garbino edited and contributed to WHO’s Children’ s Health and the Environment: A Global Perspective. This resource provides much needed information on health promotion and recognition of the environmental influences on children’s health in developing countries, including exposures in homes, schools and workplaces. It also provides critical information on water quality, sanitation, air quality, foodborne hazards.

Dr. Pronczuk de Garbino recognized the need for countries to better identify, characterize and assess environmental influences and effects on their own children’s health and development. To assist them she developed and promoted the use of National Profiles of Children’s Environmental Health, a tool to assess baseline conditions for environmental exposures and health effects on a national scale, allowing for priority setting. This information helps countries and communities plan interventions, take action and evaluate their progress.

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Regional Children’s Environmental Health Champions
The Regional Children’s Environmental Health Champions are selected groups or individuals from across EPA’s ten Regions that exemplify invaluable leadership in their Region in the protection of children from environmental health risks.

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