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Reach the Decision Makers

Reach the Decision Makers Fellowship: Project Highlights

Each year the Reach the Decision Makers Fellows develop projects relating to reproductive environmental health and its incorporation into policy-making at the US EPA.

2012 Team Projects

The 2012 class was composed of Fellows from across the country. They researched, wrote and presented their proposals to appropriate staff at the US EPA. Below are examples of projects from the 2012 Reach Class.

EPA should adopt an education program for residents of abandoned mine areas where the presence of hazardous heavy metals left from gold mining operations threatens the health of vulnerable populations:

  • Create and distribute a brochure for pregnant women to inform them of the environmental hazards present in areas with abandoned gold mines including airborne arsenic, lead and cadmium and the presence of mercury in locally caught fish.
  • Work with local physicians and midwives to educate so that they are able to better work with pregnant women on this issue.
  • Develop a program for distributing the educational materials via healthcare professionals and through Promotora/Community Health Worker Networks with special emphasis on indigenous Native Americans.

Improve the worker protection standard by developing an online national database and require nationwide reporting of all pesticides applied by professional applicators in schools of all levels of education including day care centers.

Ask that EPA convene an expert panel to assess chemical hazards in the hospital and determine:

  • Most prevalent chemicals
  • Most toxic chemicals
  • Chemicals causing greatest health and economic costs
  • Exposure sources
  • Patients and hospital units at greatest risk

Will meet with EPA about its proposed PM 2.5 standards; The ask may focus on:

  • Near roadway monitoring of traffic air pollutants. Do we support EPA’s proposal to move some existing monitors? What else needs to be done?
  • Monitoring of air toxics near and inside schools. Many schools, especially in economically depressed neighborhoods and majority minority areas, are located close to major roadways.
  • Incorporating facets of Environmental Justice in the project.

Reproductive Health and Superfund Sites; with the goal to emphasize the importance of reproductive outcomes in environmental exposure research by asking that: in their RFAs, EPA requests researchers to address adverse reproductive outcomes (distinguished from developmental outcomes) in their proposal where applicable or provide an explanation of why such an analysis is not possible.

Ensure TCSA chemical prioritization process addresses comprehensive reproductive health concerns by:

  • Requesting EPA consider TBB & TBPH chemicals be banned from use due to similar structural properties to ban on  polybrominated diphenyl ethers
  • Adding D4 Octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane to 2013 Work Plan Chemicals for Assessment
  • Proposing improvement to current EPA conceptual risk model for assessing reproductive health effects to model which considers reproductive cycle from conception to early childhood in order to determine burden of exposure and impact of EPA decision on toxicity

Focusing on Military Superfund Sites on EPA’s National Priorities List with the use of Environmental Contaminant Biomonitoring Programs:

  • Long-range goal: To use Biomonitoring to measure toxins in a person’s body fluids. Particularly lead as it is one of the leading toxins in military superfund sites from weapons and lead based paint in old buildings.
  • Short term-Ask; Request independent monitoring of the clean-up processes; for example heavy metals from landfills, leach into the groundwater soil deposited into massive landfills.

2011 Team Projects

In 2011, teams were comprised of Reach Fellows from across the country. Below are examples of projects from the 2011 Reach Class.

EPA Should Adopt a More Comprehensive Pesticide Review Process to Ensure Protection of Vulnerable Populations:  Recommend EPA to incorporate data relevant to Environmental justice among American Indian and Alaska Native Tribes and Arctic transport in all current and future pesticide reviews. Recommendations include collaborating with the Office of Environmental Justice and Tribal and International Affairs to collect and evaluate relevant data, gather data on the presence and impact of pesticides, particularly current use pesticides such as chlorpyrifos, on Arctic habitats and inhabitants and incorporate these data into registration reviews and thoroughly evaluate routes of exposure in children in rural areas with a high potential for pesticide exposure and take all possible measures to prevent harmful exposures.

Strengthen the U.S. EPA’s Worker Protection Standard (WPS) to ensure the Reproductive Health and Safety of Workers in the Agricultural Sector: Recommend revisions to the WPS, which governs farmworkers exposure to pesticides, that would reduce the risk of exposure for farmworkers and their families. Recommended revisions included: improved training, mandating age restrictions for pesticide handlers, and increasing accountability for employers.

Before Birth; Incorporating Early-Life Exposure to Carcinogens Requests of the USEPA: Recommended the EPA to modify the Supplemental Guidance for Assessing Susceptibility from Early-Life Exposure to Carcinogens (USEPA, March 2005) to include pregnant women and women who may become pregnant when addressing the increased risk from early life exposure to carcinogens, and to incorporate early life stages of exposure across the EPA’s risk assessment approach. 

Include reproductive and developmental health in EPA’s environmental justice policy requests of NEJAC:  Requested the EPA to recognize reproductive aged women and developing offspring as vulnerable populations within the EPA’s “Action Development Process’ Interim Guidance Document on Considering Environmental Justice During the Development of an Action,” to incorporate reproductive environmental health into EPA and NEJAC activities, and support public private partnerships to promote reproductive and developmental health.

Protect our nation’s reproductive health by adhering to the EPA’s proposed timeline for developing and implementing a chemical prioritization process that aims to reduce exposure to harmful chemicals found in consumer products: Urged the EPA to build upon the best practices and criteria of states, countries and other groups to inform the development and implementation of EPA’s chemical prioritization process; to cast a wide net to prevent the exclusion of chemicals for which little data is available and include the consideration of endocrine disruptors and neurotoxicants; and to commit to a transparent, efficient and timely process for the development and implementation of EPA’s chemical prioritization process.

2010 Team Projects

The 2010 Reach the Decision Makers training program consisted of fellows from the State of California. Below you'll find a summary of their team projects.

Increase air pollution monitoring near roadways to advance understanding of the contribution of mobile sources to adverse reproductive and other health effects. (Central Valley/Central Coast Team)

Incorporate women of childbearing age and pregnant women as sensitive populations within EPA risk assessment processes.(East Bay Team)

List diesel exhaust as a hazardous air pollutant to reduce the risk of cancer and adverse reproductive health outcome among environmental justice communities. (Los Angeles Team 1)

Ensure reproductive health outcomes are incorporated into Environmental Justice Interim and Technical Guidance. (Los Angeles Team 2)

Accelerate successful and timely implementation by the USEPA of the Endocrine Disruption Screening Program by creating a strong stakeholder engagement process. (San Francisco Team)

Learn more about the Reach the Decision Makers program:

Reach the Decision Makers Fellows

Click here for a list of current and past Reach the Decision Makers fellows.

Watch the 2011 Reach the Decision Makers Fellows Video.

Reach the Decision Makers Staff

Learn more about the people who administer the fellowship.


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