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Review and Evaluation of EPA Standards Regarding Children's Health Protectionfrom Environmental Risks

  [Federal Register: October 3, 1997 (Volume 62, Number 192)]
  [Page 51854-51855]
  >From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
  Review and Evaluation of EPA Standards Regarding Children's
  Health Protection from Environmental Risks
  AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
  ACTION: Notice; request for comments.
  SUMMARY: As part of its ongoing commitment to protect children from
  environmental health risks, EPA will select five existing human health
  and environmental protection standards for review and evaluation to
  determine if they sufficiently protect children's health. EPA is
  seeking recommendations and comment concerning standards it should
  select for review, including detailed explanations and reference to any
  studies that support that recommendations, EPA does not intend to
  review recently promulgated standards as part of this effort. The
  standards EPA ultimately will select for review and evaluation will be
  those that could potentially have a major impact on children's health
  as a result of reevaluation and vision. These standards would generally
  be those where children's health was not considered in the original
  development of the standard; or, where children's health was considered
  but new data suggest the standard does not adequately protect children;
  and where, if changes were made in the standard, children's health
  protection would be strengthened.
  DATES: Comments must be in writing and received by December 2, 1997.
  ADDRESSES: Written comments should be submitted to Paula R. Goode,
  Office of Children's Health Protection, USEPA (MS 1102), 401 M Street,
  SW, Washington, DC 20460, goode.paula@epamail.epa.gov.
  FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Paula R. Goode, (202) 260-7778.
  SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Children in America today inhabit a world
  that is very different from that of two generations past. The
  traditional infectious diseases have largely been eradicated. Infant
  mortality is greatly reduced. The expected life span of a baby born now
  in the United States is more than two decades longer than that of a
  child born at the beginning of the twentieth century. However, children
  today face hazards in the environment that were neither known nor
  suspected only a few decades ago. At least 75,000 new synthetic
  chemical compounds have been developed and introduced into commerce;
  fewer than half of these compounds have been tested for their potential
  toxicity to humans, and fewer still have been assessed for their
  specific toxicity to children.
      Children's exposures to lead, pesticides, PCBs, and toxic air
  pollutants are widespread. Compared to adults, children are
  particularly vulnerable and at increased risk from many environmental
  threats in four ways (1) Children's organ systems are still
  developing--including rapid changes in growth and development immature
  body organs and tissues, and weaker immune systems--which makes them
  more susceptible to environmental hazards; (2) pound-for-pound,
  children breathe more air, drink more water and eat more food than
  adults; (3) children's exposures to toxins are further enhanced by
  their play close to the ground and their normal hand-to-mouth activity;
  and (4) children have more future years of life than adults and are
  more susceptible to chronic, multi-stage diseases such as cancer or
  neurodegenerative disease that may be triggered by early exposures.
  Environmental health hazards that threaten children range from air
  pollution that triggers asthma attacks and lead-based paint in older
  housing, to treatment-resistant microbes in drinking water and
  persistent industrial chemicals that may cause cancer to induce
  reproductive or developmental changes.
      EPA Administrator Carol Browner set forth a National Agenda to
  Protect Children's Health From Environmental Threats in EPA's
  publication, Environmental Health Treats to Children, September, 1996,
  to ensure that children receive the protection they need and deserve,
  and help fulfill our nation's obligation to protect future generations.
  This agenda includes a commitment to ``ensure that all standards EPA
  sets are protective of the potentially heightened risks faced by
  children, and that the most significant existing standards be
      As stated in the Summary section of this notice, EPA will select
  and then review and evaluate five human health and environmental
  protection standards that establish discrete regulatory levels. The
  standards most suitable for this effort are those that if revised as a
  result of the review and evaluation, would strengthen and increase
  children's environmental health protection. The term ``standard'' for
  purposes of this notice means national standards established by EPA
  that identify discrete regulatory levels related to human health and
  environmental protection. Examples of such standards include pesticide
  tolerances that establish allowable levels of pesticide residues in
  food under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, Maximum
  Contaminant Levels that establish allowable levels of contaminants in
  drinking water under the Safe Drinking Water Act; and, health-based
  regulations that establish acceptable levels for air pollutants under
  the Clean Air Act. EPA will consider comments and recommendations on
  such standards in all the environmental media (air, water, soil, etc.).
  The term ``standard'' as used in this Notice does not include standards
  establishing analytical methods, technology-based standards, or site
  specific actions (such as facility
  [[Page 51855]]
  permits under the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System, or
  Records of Decision for cleanup of Superfund sites).
      In selecting the five standards for review and reevaluation EPA
  will consider a variety of factors including any new information since
  the standards were originally promulgated, as follows:
      <bullet> New scientific information or new data regarding adverse
  health effects on children;
      <bullet> New understanding of routes of exposure to children;
      <bullet> Whether the regulated substance/pollutant is persistent
  and bioaccumulative;
      <bullet> New methodologies of evaluating human health risks;
      <bullet> New epidemiology studies;
      <bullet> New toxicity studies; and
      <bullet> New environmental monitoring studies.
      As part of this effort, EPA will convene a balanced, broad-based
  external Advisory Committee, chartered under the Federal Advisory
  Committee Act, Public Law 92-463, to give advice to the Administrator
  on various issues of children's environmental health protection. Notice
  of the establishment of this Children's Health Protection Advisory
  Committee (CHPAC) was published on September 9, 1997 (62 FR 47494).
  CHPAC will consider recommendations received by EPA as a result of this
  notice and other information. Comments and other information received
  as a result on this notice will be placed in a docket that will be
  established for CHPAC. EPA will ask the Committee to recommend five
  standards that EPA should reevaluate with respect to children's health
  protection. CHPAC meetings will be announced in the Federal Register
  and open to the public. The Administrator will consider the Committee's
  recommendations and the recommendations and comments received in
  response to this Notice. EPA intends to announce the five selected
  standards in a Federal Register notice in early Summer of 1998.
      This EPA effort will help fulfill President Clinton's Executive
  Order 13045, Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and
  Safety Risks, signed on April 21, 1997. This Order, in part, directs
  each Federal agency to set as a high priority the identification and
  assessment of environmental health risks and safety risks that may
  disproportionately affect children; and ensure that its policies,
  programs, activities, and standards address disproportionate risks to
  children that result from environmental health risks or safety risks.
      Dated: September 26, 1997.
  E. Ramona Trovato,
  Director, Office of Children's Health Protection.
  [FR Doc. 97-26320 Filed 10-2-97; 8:45 am]
  BILLING CODE 6560-50-M