Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is calling for an overhaul of the nation’s
chemical management policy because the current system fails to
protect children and pregnant women, who are most vulnerable to
hazardous chemical exposures. Over the past few decades, tens of
thousands of new chemicals have been introduced into the environment,
often in extremely large quantities. But the primary federal law that
governs chemical management in the U.S. – the Toxic Substances Control
Act (TSCA) – has not undergone any meaningful revision since it was
first passed in 1976, and since then, the TSCA has been used to
regulate only five chemicals or chemical classes.
In a new policy
statement, “Chemical-Management Policy: Prioritizing Children’s Health,” published in the May 2011 issue of Pediatrics
(published online April 25), the AAP recommends that the
chemical-management policy be “substantially revised.” The AAP
recommends any chemicals policy should consider the consequences on
children and their families.
Among the other recommendations:
- The regulation
of chemicals must be based on evidence, but decisions to ban chemicals
should be based on reasonable levels of concern rather than
testing of chemicals should include the impact on women and children,
including potential effects on reproduction and development.
- Chemicals should meet safety standards similar to those met by pharmaceuticals or pesticide residues on food.
should be post-marketing surveillance of chemicals, and the EPA must
have the authority to remove a chemical if needed.
funding should be provided for research to prevent, identify and
evaluate the effects of chemicals on children’s health.
including the American Medical Association, the American Public Health
Association and the American Nurses Association have all
independently recommended changes to the TSCA.
The American Academy of
Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians,
pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists
dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children,
adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.