Senator Clinton Hails National Academy of Sciences Study for Bringing Needed Attention to Environmental Health Research
Report calls for increase in state and federal programs that measure exposure
Washington, DC - Today, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton praised the release of a National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report that makes recommendations to help us evaluate the impact of environmental pollutants on the health of Americans. This report, entitled, "Human Biomonitoring for Environmental Chemicals," outlines the need to expand our investment in biomonitoring, through which researchers can determine levels of human exposure to chemicals, in order to improve our ability to address possible links between the environment and disease and determine the effectiveness of initiatives to clean up our environment. Senator Clinton has long supported environmental health research, and has introduced legislation to expand our understanding of links between health and the environment, including the types of research highlighted by this NAS report.
"We have made great strides in identifying and raising awareness of environmental hazards, like the risk to children of lead paint exposure and the risk to women of consuming fish with high levels of mercury. "But if we can't measure exposure to pollutants through tools like biomonitoring, we can't evaluate the gains we've made in improving public health. The tragic health problems our first responders and residents in New York are experiencing as a result of the toxic substances they were exposed to after 9/11 is a clear example of how and why this type of monitoring is so critical. Today's report sounds the alarm on the need to expand this critical research and I will work with my colleagues in the Senate to ensure we make good on these recommendations," said Senator Clinton.
The NAS study was requested by Congress in 2004 with goal of developing a long-term research strategy and improve the application of biomonitoring techniques to respond to the emerging science in this area. As part of its recommendations, the NAS called for increased funding for state-level biomonitoring programs. New York State is at the forefront of this type of research, with the state's Department of Health engaging in pilot projects to determine the possible exposure of state residents to pollutants. Such projects have examined the levels of mercury exposure in New York City children, analyzed the effects of chemicals from secondhand smoke, and measured levels of cancer-contributing chemicals in breast milk.
Senator Clinton has been active in promoting environmental health initiatives. She has introduced the Coordinated Environmental Health Network Act, which would increase our ability to investigate environmental exposures that may lead to clusters of chronic disease and expand the biomonitoring activities of the CDC and states. She has also introduced, with Senator Barack Obama (D-IL), the Healthy Communities Act, which would help translate scientific research in environmental health into information that can help communities understand and reduce their exposures to pollutants. Senator Clinton has led efforts to support the implementation of the National Children's Study, a longitudinal study that will analyze the environmental risks faced by children, including a strong biomonitoring component. Senator Clinton has also worked to reduce exposure to known environmental pollutants. She has introduced the Home Lead Safety Tax Credit Act, which would provide tax incentives for the purpose of engaging in lead abatement activities for homes with children.