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Environmental Assessment

Guidance on Identifying the Appropriate Age Groups for Assessing Childhood Exposure and Risk

Objective/Intended Use

Provide guidance to Agency risk assessors on the appropriate age groups to consider when preparing exposure and risk assessments that address children.

Technical Information Staff
  • by phone at:   703-347-8561
  • by fax at:   703-347-8691
  • by email at:  nceadc.comment@epa.gov

Project Abstact

The 1993 National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report "Pesticides in the Diets of Infants and Children" highlights important differences between children and adults with respect to risks posed by pesticides. Some of the principles in the NAS report provided the foundation for the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996 (FQPA) and the President's Executive Order 13045, Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risk. FQPA requires the consideration of aggregate exposure to children when establishing pesticide tolerances (legal limits for residues in food). Executive Order 13045 broadens consideration of impacts on children by stating that "each Federal agency: shall ensure that its policies, programs, activities, and standards address disproportionate risks to children that result from environmental health risks or safety risks". Many of the comments EPA received on the Proposed Guidelines for Carcinogen Risk Assessment relate to the implementation of Executive Order 13045. In response to these comments and regulatory initiatives, EPA has been investigating ways to improve Agency risk assessments for children. An Agency workgroup convened under the auspices of the Risk Assessment Forum has been exploring children's exposure assessment issues. This workgroup has concluded that a major issue facing Agency assessors is how to consider age related changes in behavior, physiology, and metabolism when preparing exposure assessments for children. Therefore, the Forum's workgroup has initiated work on an issues paper that will serve as initial guidance to Agency assessors on this topic.

Project Status

In July 2000, EPA sponsored the Technical Workshop on Issues Associated with Considering Developmental Changes in Behavior and Anatomy when Assessing Exposure. During this workshop, 22 expert participants offered preliminary recommendations for children's age groups. A report from the workshop was published in December 2000, and a Forum technical panel began deliberations concerning the development of guidance on this topic in 2001. In 2001, an issue paper was prepared comparing the recommended age groups to existing exposure factors information. Exposure factor recommendations were made, where possible, and data gaps were identified. Also during 2001, a short issue paper was developed on dose adjustment issues for children. This paper was developed from information compiled for a separate activity on pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics for children. The two issue papers informed the development of a a draft document on the appropriate age groups for assessing childhood exposure and risk. The draft document is undergoing external peer review spring 2004.

Project Dates

Project Start Date
  10/01/1999
Project Completion Date (Actual/Projected)
  03/31/2004

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