Statement Of Bill Reed
Environmental Protection Agency
Aging Initiative Public Listening Session
April 3, 2003
When Christine Todd Whitman's panel came to Florida on their first leg of the "Aging Population and the Environment," many of the speakers before me spoke of the air, water, and land.
One speaker talked of how Americans are living longer. Two things struck me, the first this is not necessarily true. If you are a Black American and even more so if you are a Native American. The indigeninous people make up less than one percent of our population. They are lucky to live into their mid forties. This is just a notch above what the life span of all Americans was in 1900.
The second fact that struck me was if we are to be concerned with the elderly, we must still start with the children. They are in effect the canaries in the coal mine.
Something, I often start with when speaking to people may age is as a child during WW2, I knew no child with cancer and did not know what asthma was.
Today one in 13 children have asthma and cancer; even rare types are now common. This is totally unacceptable!