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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)]
>From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
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, email@example.com.
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
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
<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]
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