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E-M:/ Earth Week Press Release

Enviro-Mich message from "Rep. Liz Brater" <lbrater@house.state.mi.us>

Press Release

For Immediate Release						For Information Contact:						Rep. Liz Brater
April 21, 1999							517-373-2577

Representative Brater introduces three bills to improve the environment
in which we all live

	  In observance of Earth Day 1999, Representative Liz Brater (D-Ann
Arbor) will hold a discussion with a group of environmental leaders on
how Michigan is doing on protecting our environment and citizen's
health.  She will also address three bills she plans to introduce which
will help to improve the environment in which we all live.  In addition,
Representative Laura Baird (D-Okemos) will be in attendance to unveil
three relevant child health protection bills.

	The first bill proposed by Representative Brater would require the
state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to revise its pollution
standards to assure that children are protected from new sources of air
and water pollution and hazardous waste.  The second bill would
establish an Office of Children's Environmental Health within the DEQ to
coordinate scientific research and advocacy needed to protect kids.  The
third bill, will require the DEQ to compile an annual report of
environmental data collected by the agency.  The report is to be guided
by core performance measures currently under negotiation to help assess
how the state is progressing on protecting the Michigan environment.

	The bills respond to a growing body of scientific research linking the
exposure of children to pollution with birth defects, cancer, asthma,
and neurological problems and the need to better assess how Michigan is
doing on safeguarding our environment.

	Representative Brater, a member of the House Conservation and Outdoor
Recreation Committee said, "it is important that we move forward to
address the growing volume of scientific data which shows that children
respond more severely to pollution than adults."  "We also need to join
the thirty-seven other states already undertaking environmental
indicator reports to make sure Michigan is keeping pace with
environmental protection."

	Brater pointed out that her first two bills will focus on children
because children eat more, drink more, and breathe more per pound of
body weight than adults and thus may ingest more pollution and pesticide
residuals per pound of body weight than adults.  Children spend more
time outdoors than adults, exposing themselves to proportionately higher
amounts of air and soil pollution.  They are also unable to defend
themselves against environmental hazards like lead paint; their bodies
absorb 50 percent of the lead they ingest compared to the 10 percent
absorption rate of adults.  Finally, because children's systems are
still developing, they are more susceptible to environmental threats; a
pollution exposure that would not harm an adult may cause lifelong
problems for children in part because of their longer life span and
evolving nervous system.

	According to the U.S. EPA, asthma deaths among children increased 118
percent between 1980 and 1993, more than 100,000 children accidentally
ingest pesticides annually and 1.7 million children have elevated blood
lead levels.  Childhood cancer rates have been rising over the last 15
years, including a 10 percent increase in lymphocytic leukemia and a 30
percent increase in brain tumors.

	"Children's health should be our first concern in setting pollution
standards, but it's been our last," said Lana Pollack, President of the
Michigan Environmental Council.  "Almost 30 years after our first strong
environmental laws, we're finally realizing that children need a shield
of protection from smog, soot, and toxic chemicals.  If we protect kids,
we protect all citizens from harmful pollution."

	"Protecting our children's health is the most important investment we
can make," said Mary Beth Doyle, Environmental Health Coordinator for
the Ecology Center.  " A child's exposure to even comparatively small
amounts of pollution during critical windows of vulnerability can cause
health effects that last a lifetime."

	"Children are especially susceptible to the adverse effects of air
pollution.  In fact, a recent study shows that as many as 12.8 million
children under the age of 13 are potentially exposed to unhealthy levels
of ozone," said Susan Wood, Chief Executive Officer of the American Lung

	Brater noted that her third bill will address an information gap in the
state that hampers efforts to assess how we are doing on protecting the
environment for all citizens.  Without an annual report on the state of
the environment, how can we know if our efforts are making an impact or
if we need to change course?  Environmental indicators are also useful
to inform the public, to help the legislature set policy, and to
evaluate specific program performance.

	"The merit of Representative Brater's environmental indicators bill is
that it provides a benchmark by which to measure taxpayer expenditure
for environmental programs year by year," said Bill McMaster, the
Michigan Taxpayers United State Chairman/Volunteer.  "Common sense
mandates that state government evaluate what taxpayers get for our money
with an annual report card," concluded McMasters.

	"It is important that the public have better access to environmental
information so that we have the ability to protect ourselves and our
families from environmental hazards and advocate for policies that would
be more protective of our natural resources and environmental health,"
said Brian Imus, Field Organizer for PIRGIM.

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