Daily News Archive
From May 15, 2002

Hormone Disruption Research Act Calls For New Research Funding to Protect Children from Toxic Chemicals

Representative Louise Slaughter (D-28-NY) has introduced legislation to substantially increase federal research on hormone disrupting chemicals. Environmentalists, including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), praise Representative Slaughter's leadership on this issue, citing the critical need to protect children from dangerous chemicals that are impairing their ability to learn, behave, resist disease, and reproduce.

The Hormone Disruption Research Act of 2002 (H.R. 4709) would authorize up to $500 million for the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) to conduct and coordinate a five-year research program on hormone disruption. NIEHS would also be required to provide public reports on the extent to which hormone disrupting chemicals pose a threat to human health and the environment.

"This legislation is long overdue. Not one chemical in use today has been adequately tested for its ability to undermine the construction of children's bodies and brains," said Dr. Theo Colborn, Director of WWF's Wildlife and Contaminants Program and co-author of Our Stolen Future. "There is an urgent need to support innovative research designed to identify hazards that traditional toxicology has missed."

Hormone disruptors are synthetic chemicals that block, mimic, or otherwise interfere with naturally produced hormones that control how an organism develops and functions. People and wildlife are exposed daily to these pervasive chemicals that can do damage at extremely low exposure levels. Since the 1970s, incidence of childhood cancers, learning disabilities, autism, diabetes, early puberty, and abnormal penile development has increased substantially. At the same time, evidence linking these disorders with exposure to hormone disrupting chemicals has continued to mount.

"What is especially troubling is that children are exposed to these chemicals in the womb and shortly after birth--periods of rapid development. It's time for prevention," said Colborn. "President Bush has urged the country to not 'leave any child behind.' This research ultimately will help all children reach their full potential."

The legislation is supported by the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses; Beyond Pesticides/National Campaign Against Misuse of Pesticides; Children's Health Environmental Coalition; DESAction; the Endometriosis Association; Great Lakes United; Learning Disabilities Association; Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides; Science and Environmental Health Network; Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition; and, World Wildlife Fund.

For a copy of the bill go to: http://thomas.loc.gov and search on Hormone Disruption Research Act of 2002.