Dowload the Full Report | Statement from Mary Brune, MOMS (Making our Milk Safe) | Statement from LaDonna Williams, People for Children’s Health & Environmental Justice | Statement from Jeanne Rizzo, R.N., Executive Director, Breast Cancer Fund | Statement from Arjun Makhijani, Ph.D., IEER | Press Release – New National Campaign Launched to Strengthen Health Protection Standards
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The last half century has seen great progress in environmental health protection. The other side of that coin is that most of the standards themselves became necessary as a result of a vast array of hazardous materials and radionuclides that have been introduced into the human environment since the end of World War II. As evidence of the many ways they can harm human health has mounted, maximum exposure limits have been reduced. Children have moved to the center of many of the concerns, as for instance, in the case of exposure to lead. Protections have been put in place to limit radiation dose to the embryo/fetus in the work locations where there are known risks of radiation exposure. That protection is brought to bear only when a woman chooses to declare her pregnancy, thereby protecting her rights in the workplace.
But as knowledge has grown, the gaps in the regulatory framework have become more evident and their importance more transparent. Many radiation protection regulations, notably cleanup standards for contaminated sites, are focused on dose received by “Reference Man” — defined as a young adult Caucasian male. Children are still viewed as little adults in such contexts since the framework of radiation protection does not cover the variety of ill-health effects that children may experience disproportionately from radiation, but is rather focused on fatal cancer risk. The problems of early failed pregnancies, early miscarriages, and malformations potentially caused by radiation exposure are still not within the regulatory framework. Estimation of health harm as expressed in regulations is generally confined to assessment of one chemical at a time or to radiation. Combined radiation and chemical exposures are rarely considered in research and are practically absent from regulation.