Overview of Children’s Exposure to Environmental Toxicants. D. Paustenbach and P. Williams, Exponent
Over the past five years, there has been tremendous interest in the topic of children’s exposure to environmental toxicants and pharmaceuticals, resulting in greater toxicology testing of pregnant animals and increased study of childhood susceptibilities to medicinal. Passage of the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) in 1996 represents one of the first major national attempts to protect children from chemical exposures by requiring that pesticide residue levels be 10-fold less than would normally have been selected based on the available toxicity data. The addition of an extra 10-fold safety factor has been criticized by some scientists, however, who believe that there is no biological or toxicological basis for the assumption that children have greater susceptibilities than adults to certain chemicals. This requirement has also caused substantial economic hardship on the regulated community, resulting in more targeted research by many firms to avoid the need for this additional factor. A Presidential Executive Order on the Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks and the USEPA’s Office of Children’s Health Protection were also established in 1997 to prioritize and coordinate research efforts on health and safety risks to children. In addition, the USEPA announced the Voluntary Children’s Chemical Evaluation Program (VCCEP) in 2000, which is intended to provide data to enable the public to understand the potential health risks to children associated with certain chemical exposures. Recent examples of concerns over children’s exposures to environmental toxicants include CCA-treated wood and pthalates in toys. In this presentation, we will provide an overview of recent developments in the field of children’s health with respect to environmental toxicant exposures. Special emphasis will also be placed on current and future research initiatives.
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