261303 Impact of environmental policy on children's exposure: Examining trends in biomonitoring of five environmental chemicals

Monday, October 29, 2012 : 10:50 AM - 11:10 AM

Alyson N. Lorenz, MPH , ASPH Environmental Health Fellow, Office of Children's Health Protection, Washington, DC
Rebecca C. Dzubow, MPH, MEM , Office of Children's Health Protection, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC
Daniel A. Axelrad , Office of Policy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC
Due to unique behavioral traits and developmental processes, children are often more susceptible to chemical insults than adults and thus may stand to benefit the most from national policy-based interventions. However, the nationwide impact of environmental policy on children's exposure to a variety of chemicals remains largely unstudied. The United States Environmental Protection Agency's America's Children and the Environment (ACE) report documents trends in children's environmental exposure and health over time, using data from nationally representative sources such as the Centers for Disease Control's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). We examine the historical impact of national environmental policy on children's exposure to five environmental chemicals lead, mercury, perfluorochemicals, bisphenol A, and perchlorate for which biomonitoring trends are presented in the draft third edition of the ACE report. We assess the extent to which the unique policy history of each of these chemicals may have influenced corresponding trends in children's exposure through a comparative analysis including statistical tests for biomonitoring trends over time. Findings for chemicals with a long research and regulatory history are contrasted with findings for potential emerging threats to children's health. We find that key policy actions help to explain declines in exposure to some chemicals over time, while upward or steady patterns in exposure to other chemicals reflect the absence of broad and influential policy action. Although a variety of other factors such as state policy, public awareness, and business choices may play a role in determining these trends, evidence for the impact of national policy on children's environmental health is strong. Despite progress, opportunities for improving children's environmental health through national policy-based intervention remain.

Learning Areas:
Environmental health sciences
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Describe trends in children's environmental exposure; List factors that may influence trends in children's environmental exposure; Describe the historical impact of policy actions on trends in children's exposure to lead, mercury, perfluorochemicals, bisphenol A, and perchlorate; Discuss opportunities for decreasing children's exposure to environmental chemicals through national policy-based intervention.

Keywords: Children's Health, Environmental Exposures

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH) Environmental Health Fellow in the EPA's Office of Children's Health Protection, where I participate in multiple scientific and regulatory activities related to children's environmental health, including the ACE report.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.