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UNDERSTANDING CHILDREN'S EXPOSURES TO CHEMICALS
The overall goal of this research program is to identify those chemicals, pathways, and activities that represent the highest potential exposures to children and to determine the factors that influence these exposures. The following objectives will address this goal: (1) Revise and refine the existing research plan for children's exposure measurements research. (2) Collect measurement data on children's exposures. (3) Provide analytical support to children's pesticide exposure research. (4) Develop analytical methods for pesticides in duplicate diet food samples. (5) Develop and apply analytical methods for other chemicals including but not limited to brominated diphenyl ethers, phthalates, perfluorinated chemicals. (6) Evaluate the impact of chiral chemistry on the risk to children and exposure assessment. (7) Provide support to the National Children's Study. (8) Perform data analyses to fill critical data gaps. (9) Conduct analyses of dietary samples and refine the dietary model for the dietary exposure algorithm.
The EPA has pledged to increase its efforts to provide a safe and healthy environment for children by ensuring that all EPA regulations, standards, policies, and risk assessments take into account special childhood vulnerabilities to environmental chemicals. In evaluating environmental health risks to children, it is important to understand that children's exposures to environmental chemicals are expected to be different, and, in many cases, much higher than exposures of older individuals. Underpinned by Federal Executive Order 13045 (April 1997), "Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks," the Agency is committed to understanding why some people and groups are more highly susceptible or highly exposed than others. ORD's research to understand the exposure, susceptibility, and differential risks of children to pesticides and other chemicals in their everyday environments addresses the requirements of the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) of 1996 and the Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1996 that EPA consider children and other potentially susceptible groups when setting health-based standards. FQPA requires EPA to upgrade the risk assessment procedures for setting pesticide residue tolerances in food by considering the potential susceptibilities of infants and children to aggregate exposure to pesticides. Very importantly, FQPA requires that risk assessments must be based on exposure data that are of high quality and high quantity or exposure models using factors that are based on existing, reliable data. Exposure concentration and exposure factor data are very limited for children and require risk assessors to rely on default assumptions in the regulatory process. Children's exposure studies, especially for very young children, are required to generate critical exposure data and to characterize activities and exposure factors that contribute to aggregate exposure. The goal of this task is to conduct research to understand children's exposures to pesticides and other environmental chemicals in their everyday environments. Research to be performed under this task will identify those chemicals, pathways, and activities that represent the highest potential exposures to children, determine the factors that influence these exposure, and develop a core set of exposure concentration and exposure factor data for young children to be applied in the risk assessment process. To meet this goal, methods, measurements, and models will be developed, refined, and evaluated using existing information and collection of new data. The outputs from this research program will provide critical data needed to fill existing data gaps in exposure and risk assessments for children, refine methods for assessing aggregate exposure, provide inputs for exposure models, identify new and emerging chemicals of interest, and develop future research directions for new and emerging exposure issues. The results from this research program will be used by the Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP), the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT), the Office of Children's Health Protection (OCHP), the National Center for Environmental Assessment (NCEA), Regions, state and local agencies, industry, and academic researchers to provide critical data needed to fill existing data gaps for exposure and risk assessments.