[Congressional Record Volume 142, Number 64 (Thursday, May 9, 1996)]
[Pages S4948-S4949]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                         TRIBUTE TO NANCY CHUDA

 Mrs. BOXER. Mr. President, I am pleased today to announce my 
intentions to introduce in the near future, a bill that will help 
protect the children of this country from the harmful effects of 
environmental contaminants. I can not think of a more appropriate time 
of the year than the time we recognize the special achievements of 
mothers, to focus this Nation's attention on protecting the health and 
safety of our children. Mr. President, I am working hard on this piece 
of legislation, not only because I am a mother, but because I want to 
pay tribute to one exceptional mother. This mother knows the intense 
sadness of losing her child.
  This very special mother lives in my State and I am proud to call her 
my friend. Three years ago, Mrs. Nancy Chuda came to visit me to ask 
for help. Her little girl, all of 5 years old, had died of cancer--a 
nongenetic form of cancer. No one knows why or how or what caused 
little Colette Chuda to become afflicted. She was a normal, beautiful 
girl in every way. She liked to draw pictures of flowers and happy 
people. One thing is certain, she was blessed to have two wonderful 
parents. Nancy and Jim Chuda, despite their grief, chose to turn their 
own personal tragedy into something positive. They have labored 
endlessly to bring to the country's attention the environmental dangers 
that threaten our children. They want to make sure that what happened 
to their Colette will not happen to another child. No mother should 
have to go through what Nancy Chuda went through. If future deaths can 
be prevented, I know we all will be indebted to the tremendous energy 
and perseverance of Nancy Chuda.
  Mr. President, science has shown us that children are special. They 
are not simply a smaller version of you and me. They are still growing, 
many of their internal systems are still in the process of developing 
and maturing, and, of course, their behavior is different. Studies show 
that they breathe faster. They come in contact with numerous objects in 
their quest to learn and explore the world around them. They eat 
differently--children consume foods in different amounts in proportion 
to their body weight. I can remember, when I was a kid, I ate 
mayonnaise sandwiches and I consumed whole boxes of cereal while 
watching TV. Today, there are more questions than ever with respect to 
children's developmental health. And Mr. President, I am sad to say 
there are very few answers.
  The factors behind the special environmental risks that children face 
need special attention. A recent study issued by the National Academy 
of Sciences (NAS) reported on the effects of pesticides in the diets of 
infants and children. The study concluded that the Federal Government 
is not doing enough to protect our children from exposures to 
pesticides. The NAS study essentially confirmed what many in the 
regulatory community were already worried about. Although we may have 
the highest quality and the safest food in the world, the fact is that 
risk assessments of pesticides and toxic chemicals do not differentiate 
clearly enough between the risks to children and the risks to adults.

  It has been estimated that up to one-half of a person's lifetime 
cancer risk may be incurred in the first 6 years of life. There is 
currently not enough information to know exactly how to account for all 
of the differences when conducting a risk assessment. We need to know 
more about what health risks our children are exposed to. We need to 
collect exposure data not only on our children's diets, but also, on 
our children's exposure to air pollutants and surface pollutants. The 
fact is that we do not have the data that allows us to quantify and 
measure the differences between how adults and children respond to 
environmental pollutants.
  The absence of this data often precludes effective government 
regulation of environmental pollutants. In my bill, I intend to change 
this. We must ensure that our regulators have the data they need to be 
able to assess the risks of these substances to children. This would 
let them do their job of protecting our most vulnerable sector of 
society from environmental pollutants.
  Although most people associate pesticide use with agriculture, 
children may be exposed to far greater health risks by other common 
uses of pesticides such as lawn and garden uses, household uses, and 
fumigation uses in schools.
  Children come in contact with pesticides and other toxic substances, 
not only from the food they eat, but from the air they breathe, and the 
surfaces they touch. In communities with contaminated air, improving 
overall air quality for disease prevention is of vital importance. Some 
studies suggest that pediatric asthma is on the rise and is exacerbated 
by air pollution. Pollutants from tobacco smoke, stoves and fireplaces, 
household cleaners and paints, even glues and the synthetic fabrics 
used in furniture are all thought to be contributing factors. One EPA 
study showed that 85 percent of the total daily exposure to toxic 
chemicals comes from breathing air inside the home.
  I firmly believe that citizens have a right to know what substances 
they are involuntarily subjected to, whether they live next to a farm 
or in the heart of South-Central Los Angeles. My bill will require 
pesticide applicators to keep records and submit reports to the EPA. 
Subsequently, EPA is directed to publish annual bulletins informing 
citizens of the types and amounts of pesticide chemicals that are being 
used in and around their neighborhood, in their apartment buildings, 
and most importantly in their schools. My bill would give parents the 
ability to make informed decisions to protect their family. Public 
health and safety depends on its citizens and local officials knowing 
the toxic dangers that exist in their communities.
  EPA's Toxics Release Inventory [TRI] collects chemical release 
information from manufacturing and several other industries. It is the 
Nation's most popular and highly successful community right to know 
program. TRI is generally well supported through voluntary compliance 
of industry. The program has prompted many companies to set ambitious 
pollution reduction goals as well as voluntary restrictions and 
improvements. My bill will apply a similar philosophy to other kinds of 
environmental contaminants. I am betting on the same outcome emerging 
from applicators and users of pesticides and believe this will benefit 
everyone concerned.
  I strongly support the administration's policies over the past few 
years to place greater emphasis and attention on the environmental 
health issues that affect children. I especially applaud the 
Environmental Protection Agency for taking the lead. Last year EPA made 
it an agencywide policy to consider the risks to infants and children 
consistently and explicitly in every regulatory decision. EPA's stance 
has inspired me to include its policy in my bill and to expand its 
philosophy to other Federal agencies charged with regulating toxic 
substances and environmental pollutants. The factors behind the special 
environmental risks that children may face

[[Page S4949]]

need and deserve special attention so that in the future we can prevent 
the kinds of problems that children have suffered from lead in paint, 
asbestos in schools, and pesticides in food.