Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi

Pelosi Praises New CDC Environmental Health Report

Calls on the Bush Administration to Protect the Public from Harmful Pollutants

March 21, 2001

A copy of the new CDC National Exposure Report can be found at

Today Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) praised the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for releasing its new National Exposure Report which provides detailed information on human exposure to toxic substances including heavy metals such as lead and mercury, pesticides, and environmental tobacco smoke (second-hand smoke).

“This ground-breaking report will provide our public health officials with a new tool to protect the public from deadly pollutants. Especially remarkable were findings that public health interventions to reduce exposure to environmental tobacco smoke have worked. Over the past ten years, efforts to reduce exposure to second-hand smoke have resulted in a 75% decrease in smoking-related chemicals found in non-smokers’ blood.

“With this information, public health officials will be able to establish safe exposure levels, set research priorities, and determine whether population groups such as minorities, children, or seniors are experiencing higher levels of exposure. I call on the Bush Administration to act on the findings in this report and take concrete action to protect the public.

“Exposure data is a critical tool for determining when and where chronic diseases occur, and the role of environmental pollutants in cancer, birth defects, asthma, and other adverse health outcomes. This report will strengthen our understanding of the link between exposure to environmental toxins and adverse health outcomes and enable the development of effective public health interventions to reduce these harmful exposures.

“Minority and low-income communities are particularly vulnerable to environmental hazards. The factories that emit pollutants are often located near poor and minority communities with less political and economic power. Everyone has the right to live in an environment free of deadly pollutants and the Bush Administration must not leave these communities behind,” Pelosi said.

As a Member of the Labor-Health and Human Services-Education Subcommittee, Rep. Pelosi has secured significant funding increases for the CDC’s Environmental Health Lab. These increases have been used to produce the information released today.

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