A Renewed Focus on a Controversial Topic: Chemical Exposures

It was meant to be the kickoff of a national conversation, but the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) sponsored meeting on chemical exposures and public health, held in Washington last week, felt more like an argument at times.

The meeting started off predictably enough—with Howard Frumkin, the director of the CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, discussing the importance of strengthening scientific understanding of chemical exposures, urging better collaboration among public health agencies, local governments and non-governmental organizations, and outlined the goal of developing an action agenda for strengthening the public health approach to chemical exposures. This agenda, he said, should be based on values everyone can get behind—including prevention of morbidity and mortality, good science, the effective use of resources, care for vulnerable populations, and responsible stewardship for future generations.

Lisa Jackson, the new administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, won the loudest applause of the day for her remarks. Jackson, who leads a staff of 18,000 at the EPA, said she aims to restore America’s faith in the EPA to protect them and preserve the environment. By refocusing on core issues such as chemical management, reporting requirements, environmental justice, land use management—Jackson hopes to bring increased accountability to the agency. Read More >