Jan 152015
 

Cancer is a complex group of diseases with its causes falling into two main groups. In one group are external or environmental factors, accounting for more than 90% of all cancer cases. The other group includes hereditary or genetic factors which are responsible for the remainder. Cancer can usually be traced to DNA mutations that affect cell growth and metastasis. Substances and chemicals that cause DNA mutations are known as mutagens. Mutagens that cause cancers are known as carcinogens. It is known that children have a much lower tolerance to carcinogens than do adults. Children exposed to x-rays in the womb are about 40% more likely to get leukemia. It is believed that many chemicals including garden pesticides, household cleaners, fireproofing materials, paints and automotive chemicals are carcinogens as well. Doctors warn that the incidence of cancer in American children has been increasing about 1% each year for the past 20 years. During this time, children’s exposure to toxic chemicals has also intensified. Doctors say that we now know a lot more about the causes of childhood cancer than we did when the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act was passed. They say one reason for the increase in childhood cancer is their exposure to new chemicals which cause damage, or mutations, at the cellular level. They claim new chemicals should be screened before children are exposed to them. They also point out that the Toxic Control Act has not been updated in nearly 40 years.

Pending Legislation:

S.696 – Safe Chemicals Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current child chemical exposure policy and wish to defeat S.696

I support amending the Toxic Substances Control Act to state that it is the policy of the United States to protect the health of children, workers, consumers, the public and the environment from harmful exposures to chemical substances; promote the use of safer alternatives and other actions that reduce the use of and exposure to hazardous chemical substances and reward innovation toward safer chemicals, processes, and products; require that chemicals in commerce meet a risk-based safety standard that protects vulnerable and affected populations and the environment; require companies to provide sufficient health and environmental information for the chemical substances that the companies manufacture, process, or import as a condition of allowing those companies to distribute chemical substances in commerce; improve the quality of information on chemical safety and use; guaranteeing the right of the public and workers to know about the hazards and uses of chemical substances that they may be exposed to by maximizing public access to information on chemical safety and use; and strengthen cooperation among the federal, state, municipal, tribal, and foreign governments, and wish to pass S.696

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

The cause of childhood cancers including leukemia, lymphoma, bone cancer and brain tumors are not known. Some people speculate a child’s exposure to second-hand smoke, pollutants, x-rays or microwave radiation may contribute to the cause of child cancer. Studies have shown that some children are exposed to high levels of pesticides in schools and day-care environments. These chemicals are toxic to a child’s developing nervous system. Leukemia is the most common childhood cancer, accounting for one third of all cancer cases. About 2,500 new cases of leukemia are diagnosed every year. In 2007, there were at least 10,000 children under the age of 15 diagnosed with cancer. Statistically, more than 1,500 of these children are likely to succumb to this disease. Fortunately, since 1970, the death rate from all childhood cancers has declined by over 60%. The 5-year cancer survival rate for children is now nearly 80%. However, most of these survivors will continue to battle long-term complications from this disease as well as the treatments they endured to rid themselves of it. There are at least 270,000 survivors of childhood cancer today. However, leukemia still claims the lives of nearly 700 American children each year. It is estimated that the annual amount of funding exclusively earmarked for child cancer research is as little as $30 million.

Pending Legislation:

S.50 – Strengthening Protections for Children and Communities From Disease Clusters Act

S.53 – Community Disease Cluster Assistance Act

H.R.2058 – Childhood Cancer Survivors’ Quality of Life Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current childhood cancer policy and wish to defeat S.50, S.53 and H.R.2058

I support requiring the EPA to develop, publish, and update guidelines on an approach to investigate suspected or potential disease clusters, environmental pollutants or toxic substances associated with such clusters; establishing and operating Response Centers and Regional Disease Cluster Information and Response Teams; ensuring that the Office of Children’s Health Protection has a prominent role in developing and updating such guidelines and in establishing and operating such Centers and Teams; providing support to individuals on such Teams and Committees through grants and cooperative agreements with institutions of higher education; compiling and updating a publicly available, online database that provides information relating to disease clusters, and wish to pass S.50

I support awarding grants to any individual or group of individuals that may be affected by a reported community-based disease cluster. Requires such grants to be used to obtain technical assistance in interpreting information regarding investigating such reported disease clusters associated with hazardous chemicals and the potential hazardous chemicals associated with a reported disease cluster; providing individuals or groups with community-based tools to educate them about the mitigation of hazardous chemicals associated with reported disease clusters, or other scientific and technical issues related to reported disease clusters, and wish to pass S.53

I support making grants to eligible entities to establish pilot programs to develop, study, or evaluate model systems for monitoring and caring for childhood cancer survivors; establishing a plan to meet specified objectives relating to medical and psychosocial care workforce development including disseminating to health care educators information relevant to providing medical and psychosocial services to persons with pediatric cancers; expanding the National Cancer Institute’s pediatric cancer research and awareness program to include research on pediatric cancer survivors within minority or other medically underserved populations, health disparities in pediatric cancer survivorship outcomes, and follow-up care for pediatric cancer survivors. Requires grants to eligible entities to establish and operate a clinic for comprehensive long-term follow-up services for pediatric cancer survivors, and wish to pass H.R.2058

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Children’s health needs are much different than those of adults, experiencing complex and continuing changes from birth to adulthood. Also, many costly adult disorders have their origins in childhood. For these reasons, early access to appropriate health care services is essential for all children. The 1997 Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is a program that provides matching funds to states for health insurance for low-income families with children. CHIP was designed to cover uninsured children in families with incomes that are modest but too high to qualify for Medicaid. Medicaid and CHIP cover doctor’s visits, hospitalizations, visits to community health centers and prescription drugs. They also provide a variety of services such as long-term services for those with disabilities and support for those with developmental conditions such as autism. However, many CHIP families are continuously disenrolled and reenrolled in this program due to either bureaucratic and paperwork problems or small and often temporary changes in income. Studies have found that a typical adult on this Medicaid program is covered for only about 8½ months of the year, while the typical child is covered for fewer than 10 months a year.

Pending Legislation:

H.R.173 – Ensuring Continuous Medicaid Coverage for Children Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current children’s health care policy and wish to defeat H.R.173

I support amending title XIX (Medicaid) of the Social Security Act to change from discretionary to mandatory the authority of state Medicaid plans to provide for 12-month continuous coverage of children; specifies situations wherein a state Medicaid plan’s failure to meet this requirement shall not be regarded as a failure to comply with Medicaid requirements generally, and wish to pass H.R.173

 Posted by at 12:00 am