Keeping families safe from hazardous waste

Leonardo Trasande, MD, shares advice for parents on the best methods for keeping your family safe from hazardous waste and chemicals
How To Keep Your Family Safe From Hazardous Waste
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Keeping families safe from hazardous waste

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In contrast to the policy structure in place to assess chemicals for their safety before they're introduced into market, the structure in place for protecting families against exposures to hazardous waste sites, once they're identified is concerned, is very strong. The EPA Superfund Hazardous Waste Site Program provides detailed web-based information for families and practitioners like doctors to help guide them with regard to what is actually going on at that hazardous waste site--what agencies are doing to protect the hazardous waste site from creating a pathway of exposure for families and children. There's a program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, called the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, that works very hard to communicate to communities once a hazardous waste site is identified as a concern. The good news here, to sum up, is that this is not something that families have to take on alone.

Leonardo Trasande, MD, shares advice for parents on the best methods for keeping your family safe from hazardous waste and chemicals

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Leonardo Trasande, MD, MPP

Associate Professor, NYU School of Medicine

Dr. Leo Trasande's research focuses on identifying the role of environmental exposures in childhood obesity and cardiovascular risks, and documenting the economic costs for policy makers of failing to prevent diseases of environmental origin in children proactively. Dr. Trasande is perhaps best known for a 2012 Journal of the American Medical Association study associating Bisphenol A exposure in children and adolescents with obesity, and a 2011 study in Health Affairs which found that children's exposures to chemicals in the environment cost $76.6 billion in 2008. His analysis of the economic costs of mercury pollution played a critical role in preventing the Clear Skies Act (which would have relaxed regulations on emissions from coal-fired power plants) from becoming law. He has also published a series of studies which document increases in hospitalizations associated with childhood obesity and increases in medical expenditures associated with being obese or overweight in childhood.

These studies have been cited in the Presidential Task Force Report in Childhood Obesity, and another landmark study identified that a $2 billion annual investment in prevention would be cost-effective even if it produced small reductions in the number of children who were obese and overweight. He serves on the Executive Committee of the Council for Environmental Health of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and on the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee for the World Trade Center Health Program. He recently served on a United Nations Environment Programme Steering Committee which published a Global Outlook on Chemicals in 2013, and on the Board of Scientific Counselors for the National Center for Environmental Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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