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EPAs childrens health efforts lacked focus, leadership under Bush GAO

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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-17-10 02:55 PM
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EPAs childrens health efforts lacked focus, leadership under Bush GAO
By Ben Geman - 03/17/10 12:23 PM ET

EPA initiatives launched in the mid-1990s to make childrens health protection a cross-cutting agency focus have suffered from diminished leadership over the last decade, according to a Government Accountability Office report released Wednesday.

A 1997 White House executive order mandated new federal efforts to address childrens health, and EPA created an Office of Childrens Health Protection the same year.

However, the momentum seen in the goals, strategies, and accomplishments for childrens health that resulted from that initiative more than a decade ago has not been sustained through succeeding EPA administrators. Instead, we have seen diminished leadership, planning, and coordination at EPA and across the federal government with regard to childrens environmental health, the report concludes.

It notes, for instance, that a multi-agency task force on childrens health was allowed to lapse in 2005.
According to the EPA staff and childrens health experts with whom we spoke, had the Task Force continued, it could have helped the federal government respond to the health and safety concerns that prompted the 2007 recall of 45 million toys and childrens products, the report states.

Elsewhere, it notes that EPAs Office of Childrens Health Protection had four acting directors and no permanent director between 2002 and 2008, hampering its effectiveness.

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