Outgoing EPA Chief Leaves Childrens’ Health ‘Legacy’
When former Environmental Protection Agency Secretary Carol Browner began her eight-year tenure in the department, she established the Office of Children's Health to "improve the well-being" of the nation's "youngest and most vulnerable" population -- a program that will continue under newly confirmed EPA head Christine Todd Whitman, the Miami Herald reports. Browner said that while she served as EPA secretary, she "kept one overarching goal in mind": reducing children's exposure to pollution. "Across the board, the Browner EPA has done more to protect kids than any EPA has -- she has left a very strong legacy," Richard Wiles, vice president of research for the Environmental Working Group, said. Last month, the EPA released a study that "showed progress" in lowering the exposure of children to "badly polluted" air. According to the report, 23% of U.S. children lived in counties where one or more of six major pollutants exceeded national air quality standards in 1998, down from 28% in 1990. Browner added that new EPA industry emissions standards which she announced in December could lead to 17,600 fewer cases of acute bronchitis in children and 360,000 fewer asthma attacks within six years. "The data is very strong correlating asthma attacks and emergency room visits with high levels of air pollution," Wiles said. Browner concluded, "[T]he value of a life should be most important -- just ask the parents of any asthmatic child" (Davies, Miami Herald, 2/4).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.