Daily News Archive
From July 10, 2001

Agreement to Conduct Screening Tests on 20 Chemicals for Effects on Kids

Tempered praise was offered by pediatric, public health, environmental health, and environmental community groups for the commitment of some businesses to conduct a limited number of preliminary tests on a small number of chemicals for their effects on children's health. The voluntary testing program, developed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), established three different "tiers" of testing, and the commitments made relate only to the first, most limited tier.

"While we are gratified to see some industry leasers agree to conduct screening-level tests on a few of the chemicals that have been detected in people's bodies, we remain concerned about the limited scope of the testing involved, " said Karen Florini, the senior attorney for Environmental Defense. "It's a modest step in the right direction, but only that."

Daniel Swartz, executive director of Children's Environmental Health Network, pointed out, "If commitments to the full set of tests aren't made, the program allows a company to provide incomplete information about health effects on kids and then stop. And what if they claim 'this chemical has been tested for children's safety,' even if the testing is inadequate or incomplete?"

The Voluntary Children's Chemical Evaluation Program (VCCEP) was set up as part of the Chemical Right-to-know Initiative in 1998. The goal of the program is to ensure that there are adequate publicly available data to assess the special impact that industrial chemicals may have on children.

To see an April 2000 statement on the program, please visit www.cehn.org/cehn/vcht.html.