Pacific Southwest, Region 9
Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations
Region 9 Strategic Plan, 2011-14
Protecting children from environmental health threats is crucial to our mission as many children’s health issues have reached epidemic proportions, from breath-taking asthma rates to alarming obesity rates. Children are often more vulnerable to environmental contaminants than adults since their respiratory, neurological, immunological and reproductive systems undergo rapid changes - from conception through the teen years. Children may also be more easily harmed by environmental factors during critical windows of development. In addition, developmental disorders and childhood cancers are on the rise. All of these issues have important environmental contributions which fall either within EPA’s jurisdiction or our sphere of influence.
In 1997, EPA established the Office of Children's Health Protection to support the Agency in implementing the President's Executive Order on the Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks, as well as the national Agenda to Protect Children's Health from Environmental Threats. In January 2010 former Administrator Lisa P. Jackson made Children’s Health one of EPA’s priorities and revitalized the Children’s Health Office. As a result of this renewed focus on children’s health, EPA is changing the way we carry out all of our work. The Region 9 Children’s Health Program is contributing to this national priority and will accomplish the following in 2011-2012:
- Lead poisoning is the greatest direct environmental threat to children, affecting over one million children nationwide each year. We will develop the capacity of 16 local governments and tribes to train residents on lead hazards, conduct blood lead screenings and provide treatment information for any child who is lead poisoned. In 2011, we completed the screening of 5,000 children in Arizona for elevated blood lead levels. Our long-term goal is to support healthy homes outreach and training to protect children from exposures to lead-based paint in addition to indoor air pollutants, chemicals, and pests.
- Work with local and tribal partners to reduce environmental exposures of children at schools and daycare centers, where 20% of the U.S. population spends its days. This will be accomplished by working to implement EPA’s Voluntary School Siting Guidelines and developing State School Environmental Health Guidelines.
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