Our children’s brains develop rapidly as they move through their toddler years and beyond; their lungs pump faster and they breathe more air compared to adults, and their little beloved hearts beat faster than adult hearts do.
They’re crawling around on the floor, so they’re picking up toxins, such as lead, in the dust. Children are highly vulnerable to pollutants, and their health is a special area of medicine.
That’s why we have pediatricians. And that’s why the agency that is meant to protect our health and clean up our environment has an office devoted to understanding how children respond to pollution, the Office of Children’s Health Protection at EPA.
Last week, out of the clear blue sky — or better yet, out of the smoggy skies gathering over Trump’s EPA — acting chief Andrew Wheeler suddenly booted Dr. Ruth Etzel, the pediatrician in charge of this department, out of her job, placing her on “administrative leave.”
It’s easy, and only takes a couple minutes to make the call. When you click to take action, you’ll receive a call on your phone and we will connect you directly to your representative’s office so you can make your voice heard. A staff member will answer the phone and make a record of your concerns.
Here are some suggestions for what you can say:
- As a parent and a constituent, I am concerned by the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent decision to place Dr. Ruth Etzel, head of the Office of Children’s Health Protection, on administrative leave. This is the only office in the agency specifically dedicated to children.
- To slow or stop the work of this vital office sends a dangerous message that children’s health is not a priority for the agency.
- I am calling to ask you to demand that the head of EPA explains why he has taken this action — and what he is doing to do to insure that children, specifically, are protected from pollution.
The timing is certainly suspicious: This move came just as Wheeler set in motion his effort to cripple the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards we fought so hard to win in 2011. Mercury is a potent neurotoxin that crosses the blood-brain barrier to disrupt the developing architecture of the fetal brain. Who in their right mind would think this is a good idea?
Certainly no pediatrician would want to see more mercury, arsenic, or heavy metals in our air water, food — or in the brains of babies.
EPA doesn’t seem to get it: Moms will fight fiercely to protect our babies. The Office of Children’s Health Protection should not be undermined.