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Take Action: Comments Needed to Help Shape Federal Government Efforts to Prevent Chemical Exposures

(Beyond Pesticides, September 22, 2010) The National Conversation on Public Health and Chemical Exposures, a collaborative initiative aimed at developing an action agenda for strengthening the nation’s approach to protecting the public’s health from harmful chemical exposures, has drafted six work group reports on cross-cutting public health and chemical exposure topics. Public comment is invited and has been extended to Monday, September 27, 2010.

Supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ASTDR), the National Conversation is a collaborative project that was launched in June 2009 to engage CDC, ATSDR, other organizations working on chemical exposure issues, and the public to develop an action agenda with clear, achievable recommendations that can help government agencies and other organizations strengthen their efforts to protect the public from harmful chemical exposures. Beyond Pesticides is an active participant in the National Conversation.

Six work groups have convened to research and make recommendations on public health and chemical exposure issues. Public comment is needed for each work groups’ final reports as they work to develop the action agenda. To view work group reports and instructions for submitting comments, visit each work group’s page:
Scientific Understanding
Policies and Practices
Chemical Emergencies
Serving Communities
Education and Communication

These reports have highlighted several key themes that working group participants have recommended. These include: better communication and outreach to community groups and residents; provide affected communities with easy access to information about the chemicals to which they are exposed, including the health effects of these chemicals; expand and link chemical monitoring, achieve a more complete understanding of chemicals and their health effects; gain a better understanding of individual susceptibility, community vulnerability, and the impacts of low-dose, multiple, and cumulative chemical exposures.

Also recommended is the need to shift emphasis of chemical policy away from management of exposures and risk, toward a prevention focus, including the development, adoption, and evaluation of safer alternatives.

The National Conversation Leadership Council authors the action agenda, utilizing input from project work groups, and members of the public who choose to participate in web dialogues and community conversations. CDC and ATSDR are working with several partners to manage the National Conversation project, including:
American Public Health Association
Association of State and Territorial Health Officials
National Association of County and City Health Officials

Take Action: Submit your comments to each of six working documents on RESOLVE. In order to be considered, comments must be received by 5:00 PM EDT, September 27, 2010. Comments received after the close of the comment period will be considered if possible. Comments will be posted to RESOLVE’s website and will include the submitter’s name and organizational affiliation.


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