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Letter Supporting $65 Million for EPA Healthy Schools Initiative

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“Dear Colleagues” letter supporting $65M for EPA Healthy Schools Initiative
This letter is being circulated to colleagues in the US Senate by Senator Gillibrand (D-NY), as of today,
Monday, Apr 15th.
It is due to the Appropriators on Monday, Apr 22.   
Pls call your US Senators. Ask them to sign on.   
See all Senate office contacts here: https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm 
You Senator should communicate support to Gillibrand’s office at
Jessica_Hernandez@gillibrand.senate.gov,
at 202-224-4451

 

The Honorable Lisa Murkowski 
Chairman Ranking Member
Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, 
Environment & Related Agencies 
522 Hart Senate Office Building 
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Tom Udall
Ranking Member
Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, 
Environment & Related Agencies 
531 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

 

Dear Chairman Murkowski and Ranking Member Udall:

We are writing you to urge you to include $65 million for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) programs that improve children’s environmental health and educational facility issues for FY20. This represents $1 per child in schools and childcare and is an increase to the President’s proposed budget request of $50 million for a similar program. We request the EPA to clarify that the Indoor Environments Division will take agency leadership on this program.

Led by the Office of Air and Radiation/Indoor Environments Division, the EPA has a twenty-year history of successes in educating and convening PreK-12 and childcare owner-operators and personnel, as well as child health NGOs and state and local health agencies. This leadership program has a long history of hosting annual symposia and has provided over 45,000 school personnel, districts, and non-governmental organizations and communities with information and assistance on low-costs fixes and preventative steps to improve school and childcare environmental conditions. Additionally, the Office of Children’s Health Protection, the Office of Water/Groundwater and Drinking Water division, the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, and the Office of Research and Development should be supported to collaborate and to provide guidance, grants, and research for safe drinking water and reducing exposure to toxic chemicals in schools and providing pediatric environmental health consultations to health care providers, families, and communities.

Outside of home, children spend most of their time in schools and educational institutions. Twenty years of published research has shown that indoor environmental exposure to pollutants can be more intense than outdoor exposures and that school facilities have been neglected for decades. In fact, a 2017 American Society of Civil Engineers’ report rated school infrastructure a D+. These are problems affecting children and their families, personnel, the health care system, and schools themselves. Poor indoor environments in schools decrease seat time, attendance and test scores, and increase asthma and other health events, and thus increase health costs. There is clearly a significant need to educate, train, and encourage schools and childcare facilities on child-safe and effective preventive management of facilities.

Furthermore, in February 2018, EPA outlined a federal strategy to reduce childhood lead exposure and associated health risks as part of the President’s Task Force on Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks to Children. Adequate funding is needed for all basic EPA programs to ensure that the federal government is addressing the health of children at school and childcare facilities. Thank you for your consideration of our request. We recognize that there are many competing priorities facing your subcommittee and we hope that you will support these small proven programs that support healthier children and better educational outcomes.

Sincerely,
Kirsten Gillibrand United States Senator

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