Statement Of Carol Mehlman
Environmental Protection Agency
Aging Initiative Public Listening Session
April 3, 2003
Because women are such a large proportion of the older population, NOW takes particular interest in any of the initiatives dealing with aging issues, especially those that will protect the health of older Americans. We are very concerned that this initiative is taking place within your Agency while other parts of your agency and other parts of the government are taking away funding for Superfund cleanups, Brownfields cleanups, lowering Clean Air regulations and creating more pollution. It is not cost effective to do that. Its costs more to take care of the health of the people who become ill. Not just the elderly but particularly the young and the elderly are most vulnerable in terms of asthma exponentially. To spend less on environmental protection and then have to spend more on health care initiatives, we are concerned about that. We are very much interested in protecting the health of older Americans by keeping those protections in place and increasing them. It is particularly true for women. Factors of the environment are now considered responsible for the increase in breast cancer and all cancers. We must keep our clean air and clean water and protect the environment if we are really going to protect the health of the community but especially that of older Americans. I urge you to consider not just this initiative as you go forward but to look at all parts of the EPA and other governmental agencies so that you are working together toward one mission and not at cross purposes.