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Protecting Kids from Toxic Chemicals: Health Voices Advocate for Change Tricia Smith Learning Disabilities Association of America.

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Presentation on theme: "Protecting Kids from Toxic Chemicals: Health Voices Advocate for Change Tricia Smith Learning Disabilities Association of America."— Presentation transcript:

1 Protecting Kids from Toxic Chemicals: Health Voices Advocate for Change Tricia Smith Learning Disabilities Association of America

2 Learning and Developmental Disabilities and Chemicals National Academy of Sciences, 2002: Toxic environmental exposures directly cause 3% of LDD. Environmental factors, interacting with genetics, contribute to another 25% of LDD.

3 Chemicals “highly suspected” of contributing to LDD Editorial, April 2012 by Dr. Linda Birnbaum, Director of NIEHS, Dr. Phil Landrigan and Dr. Luca Lambertini of Mt. Sinai School of Medicine “A Research Strategy to Discover the Environmental Causes of Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities” Lists “Top 10 Chemicals and Categories of Chemicals…already suspected of causing developmental neurotoxicity.”

4 “Top 10” Chemicals Suspected of Harming Brain Development Lead Methylmercury Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) Organophosphate pesticides Organochlorine pesticides Automotive exhaust Endocrine Disruptors Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons Brominated flame retardants Perfluorinated compounds

5 Toxic Chemicals Interacting with Genetics Autism Research: Genetic and Environmental Factors (EARLI Study, SEED Study, Symposium on Environmental Epigenetics and Autism) Evidence from California study of twins and autism: 38% genetic risk factors; 58% environmental risk factors in development of autism in twins From “alternative” to “mainstream” thin king and research

6 How We Talk About Chemicals and Brain Development Learning and developmental disabilities affect one in six American children. Autism and ADHD are increasing rapidly. Mounting scientific evidence shows that toxic chemicals, interacting with genetics, can harm brain development. Toxic chemicals are in everyday products: flame retardants in couches, non-stick chemicals in cookware, Bisphenol A in can linings and plastics, etc. The developing fetus, babies and young children are especially at risk of harm from toxic chemical exposures, even at very low levels.

7 Policy Matters: Failed chemical law and how to fix it. Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA) Covers 80,000 chemicals used in products, materials. (Does not cover pesticides.) No requirement to show chemicals are safe to human health before going on market. EPA couldn’t even get asbestos banned under TSCA. Even chemical industry says TSCA needs to be revised.

8 What We Want: We need a federal law that requires: Testing of all chemicals to show safety as a condition for entering or remaining in use. Quick action to replace worst chemicals with safer alternatives Protection especially for the most vulnerable: pregnant women, children.

9 Safer Chemicals Healthy Families Coalition National Coalition of 450 health, environmental & environmental justice groups, businesses, unions working together to promote safer chemical laws. LDA a leading member of SCHF coalition, along with health groups on cancers, infertility, autism, birth defects. SCHF members are highly regarded experts and advocates in DC and in the states; Legislators request our input and support.

10 Major Medical Associations Call for Revising TSCA American Medical Association American Nurses Association American Academy of Pediatrics National Medical Association American Public Health Association American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists

11 Chemical Safety Improvement Act CSIA introduced May 2013 by Sen. Vitter (R-LA) and the late Sen. Lautenberg (D-NJ) Good News: Bipartisan agreement in Senate that we need to revise Toxic Substances Control Act. 22 Co-Sponsors of CSIA, evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats – this bill could move! Now for the bad news….

12 CSIA Fails to Protect Kids from Toxic Chemicals! CSIA creates endless red tape for EPA to wade through before assessing chemicals: delay, delay, delay. No deadlines for testing chemicals to determine toxic or safe: delay, delay…. CSIA fails to require that chemicals be found safe to level protective of developing fetus and children.

13 How do we make CSIA better? Safer Chemicals Healthy Families coalition working to promote stronger, effective CSIA. Major health professional associations urge better bill: American Academy of Pediatrics, American Nurses Assoc., National Medical Assoc., others. Meetings with Senators; National rally in DC for safer chemicals, October 29 th Some Senators promising to strengthen the bill.

14 Why LDD Voice Matters Concern over threats to brain development & learning a very compelling message. Protecting developing fetus, children also a compelling message. Legislators often haven’t heard LDA’s concerns on chemicals: a “fresh” perspective Health groups, nurses, parents, teachers have a high degree of integrity

15 Key Policy Messages Parents can’t protect children from toxic chemicals by ourselves. We need Congress to pass a strong law that protects our kids from toxic chemicals without further delay! Testing chemicals before they go into products is common sense. The portion of disease and disability linked to toxic chemicals is preventable!

16 The Time to Get Involved is Now Senators are working right now to strengthen and fix the Chemical Safety Improvement Act. Join the health and environmental justice voices calling for Congress to protect kids from toxic chemicals! Meetings and events in DC and Arkansas: We Need You. Contact: Tricia Smith …… Safer Chemicals …

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