High-level Strategy and Leadership Needed to Continue Progress toward Protecting Children from Environmental Threats

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U.S. Government Accountability Office

Lack of consistent and strategic leadership from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on efforts to protect the nation’s children from environmental hazards may contribute to increases in health problems among youth, according to this new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

Although the EPA established the Office of Children’s Health Protection and the Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee in response to an executive order by President Bill Clinton, the GAO concluded that the agency has not used these and other resources effectively and, in fact, left children out of its strategic plans in 2003, 2006 and 2009. Despite hundreds of recommendations from the advisory committee, EPA has requested advice on draft regulations only three times in the last decade.

Although the agency now has a director of children’s health, leadership has been inconsistent since 2002, making it difficult to fully support and coordinate EPA efforts and communicate issues, according to the report.

In response to the report, EPA has agreed to implement suggestions recommended by GAO to help protect children against environmental threats. GAO also recommends a federal task force on children’s environmental health.

Free, 83 pages. http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d10205.pdf.