About Children's EPA


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, please email Nancy Swan at cepaorg@gmail.com
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Children's Environmental Protection Alliance (Children's EPA) and Community Forums is a Non-Government Organization (NGO).  Our mission is to provide members, organizations, and the public with information, research reports, and news, and to initiate and share action opport
unities to protect the world's children from environmental and chemical hazards. 

Children's EPA founder and director, Nancy Swan, will host Children's EPA Community Forums as outreach to parents, child care givers, daycare providers, educators and school decision makers, and lawmakers and government officials.  The mission of Children's EPA Community Forums is to serve as a liaison between those who provide information and those who need the information to
  • prevent toxic and hazardous substance exposure to children,
  • respond environmental or chemical exposures,
  • ask questions, discuss, and express their concerns with experts,
  • participate in community support and or action to protect children from environmental and chemical hazards.
If your organization or group would like sponsor a Children's EPA Community Forum in your area or would like Nancy Swan to speak, please email Nancy Swan at cepaorg@gmail.com

The US EPA has recognized that vulnerable populations, including children, are more susceptible to injury from from exposure to hazardous substances and poor environmental conditions.  Many dangerous substances like BPA in plastics can pass through the blood stream of pregnant women, causing damage to unborn children.  From birth, children breathe more air, eat more food, and touch more contaminated surfaces than adults. A child's body, nervous system, and organs are still developing and are easily damaged by exposure from toxic materials.  Many of these chemicals are in products children breath, eat, and touch, including, but not limited to, pesticides, cleaning products, solvents, paints, sanitizers, and fragrances.

From before the moment of birth, adults have a responsibility to protect children from environmental and chemical hazards.  The U. S. government provides safety information for healthy adults and mature and healthy workers.  Yet, the U. S. government continues to fail to provide environmental and chemical safety information for children.  Products labeling is not required to carry warnings about dangers to children from exposure or ingestion of the product's chemicals, including chemical labeling and hazards in fragrances and flavoring.  As a result, parents, adult child care givers, school officials, lawmakers, recreation leaders, and other decision makers make decisions that expose children to poor environmental conditions and hazardous chemicals that can led to serious childhood diseases like asthma, and later in life can result in cancer. 
  • No agency in the United States regulates, monitors, nor investigates hazardous environmental and chemical exposures in schools.
  • No agency nor individual, including the President, is authorized to declare a disaster zone as "safe" for children or families.  Non the less, media reported President Obama allowed the First Family to dip into the Gulf of Mexico.  The President declared the waters and beaches of the Gulf as "safe" for families, which included infants, pregnant women, the elderly and other vulnerable populations such as those with compromised immune, respiratory, and sensitized systems.  
  • What is considered "safe" or "acceptable levels" by U. S. government and health agencies is based upon the height and weight of a grown male.  Hazardous environmental and chemical exposure, as with medicine dosage, considered safe for an adult can be deadly to an infant.  
Children breathe even more air per pound of body weight and are more susceptible to air pollution. Many air pollutants, such as those that form urban smog and toxic compounds, remain in the environment for long periods of time and are carried by the winds hundreds of miles from their origin. Millions of people live in areas where urban smog, very small particles, and toxic pollutants pose serious health concerns. People exposed to high enough levels of certain air pollutants may experience burning in their eyes, an irritated throat, or breathing difficulties. Long-term exposure to air pollution can cause cancer and long-term damage to the immune, neurological, reproductive, and respiratory systems. In extreme cases, it can even cause death. US EPA
  • Because a child's organs and body are still developing, children who are subjected to toxins can suffer serious diseases later in life, including cancer, asthma and lung problems, neurological and immune diseases and disorders, reproductive problems, and other developmental and learning disorders. US EPA 
  • Children's behavior, including play, learning, and eating, can expose them to more chemicals than adults, in the air they breathe, the food and materials they ingest, and the objects they touch.
Parents and decision makers are all to often unaware of the existence and harm that environmental and hazardous substance can cause to children health.  Few physicians are prepared to diagnose toxic injuries.  Children's Environmental Protection Alliance will monitor and post news, events, and research abstracts related to child environmental and chemical protection from media sources, child health and environmental health organizations and government agencies,  personal stories, guest and administrator blogs, resources, pending legislation, and petitions that can help prevent toxic exposures at home, school, and on playgrounds, and work to improve environmental conditions for children.

What would you do if your child
  1.  came home and told you that his eyes and throat burned from something sprayed at school?
  2.  said that everyday by the end of  her English class, she got a headache?
  3.  came home from vacation at the Gulf of Mexico with flu like symptoms and revealed that he and his friends threw the tar balls at each other,  the ones they found in the water and on the beach after the BP oil spill?
Who's in Charge? If you answered questions one and two with, "call the school or local school board," you may need to rethink your plan.  School officials can and do cover up school injuries involving minors.  School Board attorneys are paid by tax payers to protect the school against claims made by parents and the community. Parents are not informed that many school boards and government officials whose decisions may result in toxic exposure and injuries are protected by "Sovereign Immunity,"  Sovereign Immunity is "a legal principal making governmental bodies and employees immune from being sued in their own courts without governmental consent-" (NOLO)

If you answered, "Call the health department," or some other health or environment agency, you plan reached a dead-end.  No federal, state, nor local agency has oversight nor regulation over indoor environmental conditions in U.S. Schools.  Few federal and state health organizations are authorized and funded to take action beyond filing the incident or complaint. Parents are provide no agency to file complaints if a child is being or has been exposed to environmental or chemical hazards, nor is any agency  authorized to investigate  injuries or dangerous conditions in a school, nor make reports on a toxic exposure incident.(Healthy Schools Network , Who's in Charge)  

What is a safe?  On question three, if you are assured that a known hazardous substance was found to be at a safe level you need to know that "safe" levels of chemicals and products are determined using the condition and weight of a grown man.  The EPA has determined that children are more susceptible to injury from toxic and hazardous substances than adults.   There are no government designations for "safe" levels of toxic and hazardous substance for children. 

Five for prevention There are five things a parent needs to do to protect their child from toxic exposure and injury at school. Each of the following will be discussed in greater length on this website blog page.  Check your state listings for health department regulations and advisories for schools as well as those of the school district.  In the meantime, start or maintain a home file for each child.  If you submit anything to your school or child's school, for any reason, always keep or ask for a copy.  Keep a home file for each child.  File all communication from you in writing and to you, included printed copies of emails.  Always follow up with a telephone call or in person if there is delay in response.
  • Read all parent handouts from school and community and keep them in on file with your child's records.
  • Know and become a participant in your private or public school board decisions.  If renovation, construction, or repairs have been or are being discussed,
    • write and ask what, when and where repairs are to be done. 
    • Ask for a list of products, and Material Safety Data Sheets on each chemical component in the product.
    • If children will be exposed to potentially hazardous substances, ask the regulatory board to consult a pediatric toxicologist to decide when it is safe for children and adults to reoccupy the building. 
  • Write or fill out appropriate forms if your child has special needs or medical problems which would make them sensitive to fragrances, smoke, fumes, dust, mold, etc.
  • Write or fill out appropriate forms if you notify school officials, the school nurse, your principal, and the child's teacher(s) regarding your child's health or complaints about poor environmental and hazardous chemical conditions.
  • Ask for Material Safety Data Sheets and copies of school district, school, and classroom use, off-gassing or curing times,  storage, disposal,  hazardous products and chemicals, including but not limited to
  • cleaning products,
  •  pesticides,
  • Deodorizers, perfumes, or room fragrances,
  • sanitizers and
  • solvents used, their storage and hours of use, and ask if there are safer alternatives to use around children..
If you are in doubt or the school refuses any or all of the above, ask school authorities for an EPA Tools for Schools environmental assessment walk-through of your child's school.

Five for Response
.  If your child suffered a toxic or hazardous substance exposure at school, there are five things you need to do immediately.  I will list these in a blog entry, each with a true story ( identifying information changed to protect children).   

In the meantime, if you suspect or know that your child was injured by a toxic or hazardous substance at school, what you will need to do immediately, and over the long-term, gets more complicated.  In the meantime, you can contact me at cepaorg@gmail.com

Who insures safe learning conditions at your school?  The mission statement for almost all school boards and boards of education includes providing safe learning conditions.  However, school officials know most parents are not aware that they are protected from accountability should they fail to provide a safe learning environment or make decisions that cause injuries.  If there is a toxic incident at your school possibly involving injuries or damage, the school attorney has already been retained to protect school officials from lawsuits from you, the parents or guardians of the injured and exposed.  And, you can bet, by the time the news reaches you, school officials have already "lawyered-up" and will say nothing without the advice of their attorneys and will not speak to you without their attorney present. 

You can always wait, hoping the media will do a story about the toxic incident at the school.   Almost all toxic school news stories report the incident as an "unknown substance", a "bad odor",  and sometimes report the number of  injuries.   Unfortunately, very few media reporters will give the information the community and parents need -- the name of the products, product components and chemicals hazard warnings.  

Vulnerable children have special needs. New research has determined that children who are exposed to toxins even before they are born, may have birth defects.  Disadvantaged children are doomed to more exposure environmental toxins and hazardous substances because of where they live, lifestyle and customs, lack of information and education, and lack of health care.   Special needs children with compromised immune systems or medical problems need extra protection.  Children's Environmental Protection Alliance hopes to provide its members and the public with information and opportunities to provide vulnerable and health compromised children with appropriate prevention information and actions to protect them from exposure to environmental and chemical hazards.

As a result of my chemical injury while teaching, I'm doing for you what I wish had been done for me.   I was seriously and permanently injured in 1985 by highly toxic spray-on foam roofing products, containing Methylene Diphenyl Diisocyanate (MDI) and Toluene Diisocyanate (TDI),  which were applied during school hours. For more information about my exposure and injuries read the introduction, Prologue and Chapter One of Toxic Justice.

Truthful and reliable information often denied to victims of exposure and injury. After my exposure, I discovered that extracting truthful and reliable chemical information from those responsible can be more painful than a root canal and harder than finding hen's teeth.  It has been almost thirty years since my injury and little has changed.  Children's Environmental Protection Alliance will provide information and resources to prepare parents and provide an opportunity to work together and with other organizations to hold decision makers for companies, schools, government,state, and local officials accountable for the safety of school children.

Children's Environmental Protection Alliance acknowledges that
  • Children need regulatory agencies to provide appropriate standards, regulations, oversight, and effective enforcement to provide protection than adults to protect them from environmental and chemical hazards from conception until their late teens, when their bodies and organs have stopped growing. 
  • Childhood exposure and injuries from these hazards affect their ability to learn as well as their health and potential for cancer and other life-threatening diseases. 
  • Children are more susceptible to environmental and chemical hazards than adults. 
  • The number of hazardous and potentially hazardous chemicals one the market is increasing exponentially, increasing the potential for exposure from manufacturing, storage, transportation, on and off use-site storage, use, and disposal of chemicals.  
  • Our government needs to provide prevention instead of investigations of toxic incidents.
  • One-half US schools are deemed environmentally unsafe for children (EPA). 
  • Children with special needs, handicapped, medical diseases, psychological, and learning disabled need even more protection from environmental and chemical hazards.

Children's Environmental Protection Alliance (Children's EPA) and Community Forums
serves as a liaison
between those who have information and programs to protect children from environmental and chemical injury and those who need the information.  Unfortunately those responsible for protecting children from environmental and chemical hazards are not well informed.   Community decision makers affecting child and youth exposure to environmental and chemical hazards include the media, community leaders and politicians , childcare workers and care-givers, private and public preschool and K-12 school officials and educators, youth recreation leaders, religious youth groups, school officials and educators.

Community decision makers are often unaware or misinformed about environmental and chemical standards, hazards, and protection for children.  Educators and school officials are not trained in preventing environmental and chemical injuries to children.  State and federal authorities are also uneducated about child environmental and chemical issues and therefore programs for child protection from environmental and chemical hazards are either do not exist, are placed in wrong departments who are ill equiped and underfunded to provide for protection of children.

Community Forum workshops can proved communities and decision makers with information provided by child health, environmental and chemical experts and can make the difference between healthy children and sentencing children to a life time of illness, or death.  Decision makers who are more often exempt from accountability, are accountable to taxpayers when they realize that the burden of health costs for environmental and chemical injury on placed on taxpayers or on the Medicare and Social Security Disability system. 

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