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NTC PRESIDENT CLINTON SIGNED AN EXECUTIVE ORDER TO REDUCE ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH AND SAFETY RISKS TO CHILDREN
Release Date: 04/21/97
FOR RELEASE: MONDAY, APRIL 21, 1997
President Clinton today signed an executive order to reduce environmental
health and safety risks to children. Attached are statements by Vice President Gore and
EPA Administrator Browner and a fact sheet on the executive order.
ATTACHMENT 1 - Statement by Vice President Gore:
THE WHITE HOUSE
OFFICE OF THE VICE PRESIDENT
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: 202-456-7035
MONDAY, April 21, 1997
OFFICE OF THE VICE PRESIDENT
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: 202-456-7035
MONDAY, April 21, 1997
VICE PRESIDENT ANNOUNCES EXECUTIVE ORDER TO REDUCE ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH AND SAFETY RISKS TO CHILDREN
Action Will Require Agencies to Consider Effects of Federal Rules on Children
WASHINGTON D.C.-- Vice President Gore visited the Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. today (4/21) and announced an executive order to reduce environmental health and safety risks to children.
"This executive order says to every federal agency and department: put our children first. We Americans owe our largest responsibility to our smallest citizens" said Vice President Gore. "From now on, agencies will have to take a hard look at the special risks and disproportionate impact that standards and safeguards have on our children."
The executive order, which President Clinton signed today, includes actions that will strengthen policies and improve research to protect children, and ensure that new safeguards consider special risks to children. It would, for the first time, require agencies to analyze and explain the effects of their rules on children.
Studies have demonstrated that children are at a disproportionate risk from environmental health, and safety hazards. These disproportionate risks -- which can lead to illnesses like cancer, leukemia, and asthma -- stem from fundamental differences, in terms of physiology and activity, between children and adults.
The Clinton Administration has taken bold steps to provide explicit protection for children in initiatives such as the Food Quality Protection Act and Safe Drinking Water Act; development of new standards for passive restraints for children in cars; and administrative action to protect children from tobacco, lead and other hazards. This executive order is another example of the Administration's continued commitment to protecting America's children from environmental and safety hazards.
ATTACHMENT 2 - Statement by EPA Administrator Browner to be provided on request.
ATTACHMENT 3 - Fact Sheet on Executive Order:
Enhancing Protection of Children's Health
April 21, 1997
April 21, 1997
Vice President Gore today announced an executive order to reduce environmental health and safety risks to children. For the first time, federal agencies will be required to assign high priority to addressing these risks, to coordinate their research priorities on children's health, and to ensure that their standards take into account special risks to children.
Because children are still developing and because of they take in more food, water, and air relative to their body weight than adults, they are more susceptible than adults to environmental threats. In the past 25 years we have made great progress in protecting public health from environmental hazards, but we still have far to go: Asthma is now the leading cause of hospital admissions for children, 10 million children under the age of four still live within four miles of a toxic dump, and despite a steady decline in childhood lead poisoning, there are still nearly one million children under the age of five
who suffer from this condition.
The executive order, which President Clinton signed today, includes the following actions:
- Strengthen Policies to Protect Children. The executive order requires all agencies to make the protection of children a high priority in implementing their statutory responsibilities and fulfilling their overall missions.
- Improve Research and other Initiatives to Protect Children. The proposed executive order would create an interagency task force to establish a coordinated research agenda, to identify research and other initiatives the Administration will take to advance the protection of children's environmental health and safety, and to enlist public input for these efforts. The Office of Management and Budget is charged with convening an Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, to produce an annual compendium of the most important indicators of the well being of the Nation's children.
- Ensure that New Safeguards Consider Special Risks to Children. The executive order would, for the first time, require agencies to analyze and explain the effects of their rules on children. When a major regulation addresses special risks to children, agencies would have to 1) consider disproportionate impacts on children; and 2) explain why their proposed action is preferable to other alternatives. The primary goal of this provision is to link policy decisions to the emerging science regarding children's environmental health and safety. This provision ensures accountability to the public and helps agencies identify their research needs.
There is a growing body of evidence, highlighted by a 1993 study by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) on the exposure of children to pesticides, demonstrating that children are at disproportionate risk from environmental health, and safety risks. The report also concludes that federal regulatory standards often fail to consider these risks fully.
These disproportionate risks stem from several fundamental differences between children and adults, in terms of physiology and activity. Children are still developing, and thus are neurologically and immunologically more susceptible to certain risks. Children eat, drink and breathe more for their weight, exposing them to greater amounts of contamination and pollution for their weight. Children are less able to protect themselves by use of judgment and skill (e.g. navigating traffic, reading and following warnings). Concurrent with their recognition of these factors, scientists have documented an alarming increase in the incidence of conditions in children that may be linked to environmental health and safety risks. These include childhood cancer, leukemia, and asthma, as well as childhood deaths and injuries from accidents.
President Clinton has taken bold action to respond to the challenge posed by this new science. President Clinton's initiatives resulted in explicit protection for children in the Food Quality Protection Act and Safe Drinking Water Act; development of new standards for passive restraints in cars that are more protective of children; and administrative action to protect children from tobacco, lead, and other hazards. Each of these initiatives responds to major threats to children that are of major concerns to American families.
These successes highlight the need for an overall, coordinated approach to children's issues that highlights their priority, coordinates federal research, and ensures that federal standards consistently account for disproportionate risks to children. Today's executive order, developed though extensive consultation with affected agencies, would fill this gap with
provisions to address each of these areas.
ATTACHMENT 4 - Text of the Executive Order:
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release April 21, 1997
- - - - - - -
PROTECTION OF CHILDREN FROM ENVIRONMENTAL
HEALTH RISKS AND SAFETY RISKS
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Policy.
1-101. A growing body of scientific knowledge demonstrates that children may suffer disproportionately from environmental health risks and safety risks. These risks arise because:
- children's neurological, immunological, digestive, other bodily systems are still developing; children eat more food, drink more fluids, and breathe more air in proportion to their body weight than adults; children's size and weight may diminish their protection from standard safety features; and children's behavior patterns may make them more susceptible to accidents because they are less able to protect themselves.
Therefore, to the extent permitted by law and appropriate, and consistent with the agency's mission, each Federal agency:
(a) shall make it a high priority to identify and assess environmental health risks and safety risks that may disproportionately affect children; and
(b) shall ensure that its policies, programs, activities, and standards address disproportionate risks to children that result from environmental health risks or safety risks.
1-102. Each independent regulatory agency is encouraged to participate in the implementation of this order and comply with its provisions.
Sec. 2. Definitions. The following definitions shall apply to this order.
2-201. "Federal agency" means any authority of the United States that is an agency under 44 U.S.C. 3502(1) other than those considered to be independent regulatory agencies under 44 U.S.C. 3502(5). For purposes of this order, "military departments," as defined in 5 U.S.C. 102, are covered under the auspices of the Department of Defense.
2-202. "Covered regulatory action" means any substantive action in a rulemaking, initiated after the date of this order or for which a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is published 1 year after the date of this order, that is likely to result in a rule that may:
(a) be "economically significant" under Executive Order 12866 (a rulemaking that has an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or would adversely affect in a material way the economy, a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local, or tribal governments or communities); and
(b) concern an environmental health risk or safety risk that an agency has reason to believe may disproportionately affect children.
2-203. "Environmental health risks and safety risks" mean risks to health or to safety that are attributable to products
or substances that the child is likely to come in contact with or ingest (such as the air we breath, the food we eat, the water
we drink or use for recreation, the soil we live on, and the products we use or are exposed to).
Sec. 3. Task Force on Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks to Children.
3-301. There is hereby established the Task Force on Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks to Children ("Task Force").
3-302. The Task Force will report to the President in consultation with the Domestic Policy Council, the National Science and Technology Council, the Council on Environmental Quality, and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
3-303. Membership. The Task Force shall be composed of the:
(a) Secretary of Health and Human Services, who shall serve as a Co-Chair of the Council;
(b) Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, who shall serve as a Co-Chair of the Council;
(c) Secretary of Education;
(d) Secretary of Labor;
(e) Attorney General;
(f) Secretary of Energy;
(g) Secretary of Housing and Urban Development;
(h) Secretary of Agriculture;
(i) Secretary of Transportation;
(j) Director of the Office of Management and Budget;
(k) Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality;
(l) Chair of the Consumer Product Safety Commission;
(m) Assistant to the President for Economic Policy;
(n) Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy;
(o) Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy;
(p) Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers; and
(q) Such other officials of executive departments and agencies as the President may, from time to time, designate.
Members of the Task Force may delegate their responsibilities under this order to subordinates.
3-304. Functions. The Task Force shall recommend to the President Federal strategies for children's environmental health and safety, within the limits of the Administration's budget, to include the following elements:
(a) statements of principles, general policy, and targeted annual priorities to guide the Federal approach to achieving the goals of this order;
(b) a coordinated research agenda for the Federal Government, including steps to implement the review of research databases described in section 4 of this order;
(c) recommendations for appropriate partnerships among Federal, State, local, and tribal governments and the private, academic, and nonprofit sectors;
(d) proposals to enhance public outreach and communication to assist families in evaluating risks to children and in making informed consumer choices;
(e) an identification of high-priority initiatives that the Federal Government has undertaken or will undertake in advancing protection of children's environmental health and safety; and
(f) a statement regarding the desirability of new legislation to fulfill or promote the purposes of this order.
3-305. The Task Force shall prepare a biennial report on research, data, or other information that would enhance our ability to understand, analyze, and respond to environmental health risks and safety risks to children. For purposes of this report, cabinet agencies and other agencies identified by the Task Force shall identify and specifically describe for the Task Force key data needs related to environmental health risks and safety risks to children that have arisen in the course of the agency's programs and activities. The Task Force shall incorporate agency submissions into its report and ensure that this report is publicly available and widely disseminated. The Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Science and Technology Council shall ensure that this report is fully considered in establishing research priorities.
3-306. The Task Force shall exist for a period of 4 years from the first meeting. At least 6 months prior to the expiration of that period, the member agencies shall assess the need for continuation of the Task Force or its functions, and make appropriate recommendations to the President.
Sec. 4. Research Coordination and Integration.
4-401. Within 6 months of the date of this order, the Task Force shall develop or direct to be developed a review of existing and planned data resources and a proposed plan for ensuring that researchers and Federal research agencies have access to information on all research conducted or funded by the Federal Government that is related to adverse health risks in children resulting from exposure to environmental health risks or safety risks. The National Science and Technology Council shall review the plan.
4-402. The plan shall promote the sharing of information on academic and private research. It shall include recom-mendations to encourage that such data, to the extent permitted by law, is available to the public, the scientific and academic communities, and all Federal agencies.
Sec. 5. Agency Environmental Health Risk or Safety Risk Regulations.
5-501. For each covered regulatory action submitted to OMB's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) for review pursuant to Executive Order 12866, the issuing agency shall provide to OIRA the following information developed as part of the agency?s decisionmaking process, unless prohibited by law:
(a) an evaluation of the environmental health or safety effects of the planned regulation on children; and
(b) an explanation of why the planned regulation is preferable to other potentially effective and reasonably feasible alternatives considered by the agency.
5-502. In emergency situations, or when an agency is obligated by law to act more quickly than normal review procedures allow, the agency shall comply with the provisions of this section to the extent practicable. For those covered regulatory actions that are governed by a court-imposed or statutory deadline, the agency shall, to the extent practicable, schedule any rulemaking proceedings so as to permit sufficient time for completing the analysis required by this section.
5-503. The analysis required by this section may be included as part of any other required analysis, and shall be made part of the administrative record for the covered regulatory action or otherwise made available to the public, to the extent permitted by law.
Sec. 6. Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics.
6-601. The Director of the OMB ("Director") shall convene an Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics ("Forum"), which will include representatives from the appropriate Federal statistics and research agencies. The Forum shall produce an annual compendium ("Report") of the most important indicators of the well-being of the Nation's children.
6-602. The Forum shall determine the indicators to be included in each Report and identify the sources of data to be used for each indicator. The Forum shall provide an ongoing review of Federal collection and dissemination of data on children and families, and shall make recommendations to improve the coverage and coordination of data collection and to reduce duplication and overlap.
6-603. The Report shall be published by the Forum in collaboration with the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The Forum shall present the first annual Report to the President, through the Director, by July 31, 1997. The Report shall be submitted annually thereafter, using the most recently available data.
Sec. 7. General Provisions.
7-701. This order is intended only for internal management of the executive branch. This order is not intended, and should not be construed to create, any right, benefit, or trust responsibility, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or equity by a party against the United States, its agencies, its officers, or its employees. This order shall not be construed to create any right to judicial review involving the compliance or noncompliance with this order by the United States, its agencies, its officers, or any other person.
7-702. Executive Order 12606 of September 2, 1987 is revoked.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
THE WHITE HOUSE,
April 21, 1997.
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