February 22, 2000 Contact: Mary Beth Doyle, 734-663-2400
For Immediate Release Lana Pollack, 517-487-9539
ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS BLAST STATE PANEL REPORT,
URGE IMMEDIATE ACTION TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM POLLUTION
The Ecology Center and Michigan Environmental Council today blasted a report released by Governor Engler’s Michigan Environmental Science Board which admits flaws in the state’s pollution risk assessment policies but recommends more research rather than action to protect children at risk.
The report concludes that the state fails to take into account the effect of multiple chemicals on children’s health, but the report recommends waiting for more research before steps are taken to protect children. Two pediatricians on the MESB panel took issue with the report. Their minority report recommends that an additional safety factor be added to the risk assessment process to better protect children.
"Are Michigan’s children adequately protected? The answer is clearly no. And the MESB report acknowledges this," said Mary Beth Doyle of the Ecology Center. "It is inexplicable that the board failed to take the obvious next step and support additional protection of children."
U.S. children are suffering increased rates of asthma, certain cancers, and other health effects which may be associated with pollution, and studies have linked exposure to some pollutants with neurological and behavioral problems.
The two pediatricians on the panel, Dr. William Weil and Dr. Ruth Etzel, supported a minority report which disagrees with the MESB conclusions. The safety factor they recommend would reduce the amount of pollution to which children are exposed by ten-fold. It would account for the lack of data on thousands of chemicals currently in use which have never been tested to determine their developmental toxicity.
"The only two panel members whose profession is the medical treatment of children disagree with the report’s finding that Michigan is doing enough to protect kids from pollution," said Dave Dempsey, MEC policy advisor. "We should trust their medical advice for children’s protection. The state should listen to what these doctors have to say."
The Ecology Center and MEC urged the Legislature to move immediately to protect children by:
An analysis of the MESB report is available upon request.