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MONDAY, April 21, 1997

Vice President Announces Executive Order to Reduce Environmental Health and Safety Risks to Children

Action Will Require Agencies to Consider Effects of Federal Rules on Children

WASHINGTON D.C.-- Vice President Gore visited the Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. today (4/21) and announced an executive order to reduce environmental health and safety risks to children.

"This executive order says to every federal agency and department: put our children first. We Americans owe our largest responsibility to our smallest citizens" said Vice President Gore. "From now on, agencies will have to take a hard look at the special risks and disproportionate impact that standards and safeguards have on our children."

The executive order, which President Clinton signed today, includes actions that will strengthen policies and improve research to protect children, and ensure that new safeguards consider special risks to children. It would, for the first time, require agencies to analyze and explain the effects of their rules on children.

Studies have demonstrated that children are at a disproportionate risk from environmental health, and safety hazards. These disproportionate risks -- which can lead to illnesses like cancer, leukemia, and asthma -- stem from fundamental differences, in terms of physiology and activity, between children and adults.

The Clinton Administration has taken bold steps to provide explicit protection for children in initiatives such as the Food Quality Protection Act and Safe Drinking Water Act; development of new standards for passive restraints for children in cars; and administrative action to protect children from tobacco, lead and other hazards. This executive order is another example of the Administration's continued commitment to protecting America's children from environmental and safety hazards.

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