Too often, communities are bombarded by pollution coming from all directions. Yet the Environmental Protection Agency does not assess the full impact of toxic pollution on children or from combined sources—even though scientists have been calling for this for years.
Fortunately, the EPA has said that it is evaluating the current science, which shows that it must start addressing the full community health impacts from pollution. Now the EPA needs to hear how much this matters.
The EPA’s decision on whether to follow current science will affect whether communities overburdened by pollution can ever have healthy air, water, and playgrounds, or protection from the cumulative effect of exposure to chemicals in daily life.
For too long, the EPA has embraced an outdated risk assessment approach, which assures that the most vulnerable communities will remain polluted. The EPA needs to know that the public wants EPA to update its policy and evaluate the real-world impact of pollution we face.
Please join us in urging the EPA to finally adopt the best available scientific methods to reduce pollution and advance environmental justice.
The EPA knows that pollution often accumulates in communities of color and lower-income communities, which receive little information or a meaningful say in the matter. The status quo won’t make our communities safer.
Show your commitment by calling on the EPA to ensure that the next generation of children won’t grow up surrounded by a toxic soup of pollution.
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- Gina McCarthy, EPA Administrator
Subject: Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-ORD-2013-0292-0001
Too many Americans live surrounded by toxic pollution from factories like coal plants, refineries, cement kilns, chemical plants, and incinerators, plus highways, truck routes, and hazardous waste sites. When children go out to play, they wheeze, cough, gasp for air, and face asthma attacks, burning eyes, and long-term health harm.
Our most vulnerable communities often have less access to quality, affordable health care, which only exacerbates the impacts of environmental hazards.
What EPA Must Do:
* Account for the real-world risks and impacts of pollution that communities face daily.
* Follow the best available science--including National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences (NAS) recommendations and California EPA models--to address the full cumulative impact of pollution from multiple sources, multiple pollutants, and multiple pathways, and use default factors to protect people from all risk and impacts EPA knows exist, instead of just ignoring them.
* Recognize that early life exposure increases lifelong health risks and impacts and use additional age-based factors to protect children's health.
* Account for the greater exposure and vulnerability of communities of color and lower income communities to provide meaningful public health protections.
All of our communities need strong, scientific protection now from air, water, pesticides, hazardous waste, and other kinds of pollution. A site-based cumulative assessment is vital to ensure that the most vulnerable and exposed communities finally get the help they need. EPA has recognized that pollution accumulates in communities of color and lower income communities without public information or a meaningful say in the matter, and now it must take real action to address this problem.
It's time for EPA to address the real-world, cumulative impact that pollution has on overburdened communities. Years have passed since the 2009 NAS recommendations. Now EPA must act without delay to apply current science in rulemakings, permit decisions, the allocation of environmental enforcement resources, and other important agency actions. For example, there are dozens of air toxics rules where it is urgent for EPA to apply current science, instead of following its outdated risk assessment approach.
That's why I urge EPA to provide the scientific leadership needed to guide the agency's actions, this year. Otherwise, more air toxics, pesticides, and other important agency decisions will go forward without following current science. And when that happens, children in our overburdened communities will suffer the most.
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