266688 Advocating for reproductive health protection through chemical regulation under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 2:50 PM - 3:10 PM

Rebecca Nachman, MPH , Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Azita Cuevas, MS, MPH , Department of Environmental Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, Tuxedo, NY
Jennifer Canvasser, MSW , Ecology Center/Michigan Network for Children's Environmental Health, Ann Arbor, MI
Bakeyah Nelson, PhD , Office of Policy and Planning, Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services, Houston, TX
Pamela Schwingl, PhD , Public Health Research, Social & Scientific Systems, Inc., Durham, NC
Problem Statement: As fellows in an environmental policy advocacy training program, we advocated to strengthen regulation of chemicals under TSCA with the goal of protecting reproductive health. Currently, only 200 of the 84,000 chemicals under TSCA's purview have been tested, and partial restrictions have been placed on only five. To address this policy gap, the USEPA plans to select priority chemicals for review and assessment under TSCA. Methods: Our team sought to provide USEPA with best practices for chemical prioritization to ensure that the chemical selection process is protective of reproductive health. To that end, our team: (1) Researched published methodologies of selected states, countries, and organizations with priority chemicals lists; (2) Compiled recommendations that were put forth in a letter addressed to TSCA-related offices within USEPA, describing best practices for chemical prioritization; (3) Participated in a webinar and submitted comments in response to an online forum held by USEPA to solicit public comments on its proposed chemical prioritization process; and (4) Set up and conducted in-person meetings with key personnel at USEPA offices in Washington, DC. Results: Our team successfully (1) Obtained a commitment from USEPA to release within a deadline a new list of selected chemicals for which action plans will be developed; (2) Worked with the agency to identify potential next steps to further increase the transparency of the chemical selection process; (3) Advocated for chemical selection criteria that are protective of reproductive health; (4) Established ongoing communication with offices at USEPA. Conclusions: As training program fellows, we developed skills, experience, and knowledge of USEPA's regulatory framework, which enabled us to advocate for protection of reproductive health via chemical regulation under TSCA, and which will allow us to continue advocate for reproductive health as it relates to chemical exposure and other areas of environmental health sciences.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Environmental health sciences
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Evaluate the effectiveness of training program fellows in influencing environmental policies relating to reproductive health. List cross-institutional best practices for prioritizing environmental chemicals of concern. Describe the role of chemical prioritization criteria in USEPA’s process of selecting priority chemicals for review under the Toxic Substances Control Act.

Keywords: Public Policy, Reproductive Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a doctoral student at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where I earned an MPH. My research is focused on environmental exposures to chemicals and developmental and reproductive outcomes. I was a 2011 fellow of the Reach the Decisions Makers public policy advocacy training program for scientists in the fields of reproductive health and environmental health sciences. My research interests also include air pollution exposure assessment, and risk assessment.
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.