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Nation’s Pediatricians Call on Congress to Protect Kids from Toxic Chemicals

For Immediate Release: 
Monday, April 25, 2011

Washington, D.C. – U.S. pediatricians are putting their considerable muscle behind the calls for Congress to overhaul a failed federal law that has exposed millions of children, beginning in the womb, to an untold number of toxic chemicals.

In its statement, Chemical-Management Policy: Prioritizing Children's Health, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act be "substantially revised,” as it has “been ineffective in protecting children, pregnant women, and the general population from hazardous chemicals in the marketplace.”

“When the nation’s pediatricians sound the alarm, it’s time for everyone to act,” Environmental Working Group president Ken Cook said. “These are the doctors who see and treat more and more children with autism, ADHD, cancer and other health problems that are on the rise in the U.S. and are associated with exposures to toxic chemicals. It is my hope that all members of Congress take the AAP’s call for reform seriously and think about the children they represent when it’s time to vote.”

“People are innocent until proven guilty, but toxic chemicals should not be,” Dr. Harvey Karp, a nationally renowned pediatrician, EWG board member and author of The Happiest Baby on the Block said. “The chemical industry must take the necessary steps to ensure its products are safe for human health before enter commerce and work their way into our children's vulnerable bodies.”

Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) took the charge to reform the outdated law once again, and recently introduced the federal Safe Chemicals Act of 2011. Lautenberg’s legislation would establish a protective standard by which chemicals’ safety would be determined. It would go a long way to eliminating spurious claims of confidential business information, which currently allow health and safety information of common chemicals to be withheld from the public, medical professionals and even within the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA would set priorities among more than 84,000 chemicals in the agency’s inventory, insuring the most problematic and hazardous chemicals are acted upon first.

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