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Environmental Factor

July 2011

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National conversation on public health and chemical exposures releases highly anticipated Action Agenda

By Ian Thomas
July 2011

John Balbus,  M.D.

Balbus has participated in the Conversation in his role as Leadership Council representative and chair of the Monitoring Work Group. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Chris Portier, Ph.D.

Portier has been a participant in the Conversation since its kickoff meeting in 2009. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

The National Conversation on Public Health and Chemical Exposures released its highly anticipated comprehensive Action Agenda on June 9, outlining 48 recommendations for protecting the American public from exposure to toxic chemicals and other hazardous materials.

As the culmination of a two-year joint effort between an array of nonprofit and industry organizations, the general public, and various government agencies, including NIEHS, this agenda identifies potential risks to public health and explores possible solutions in areas like policy reform, chemical exposure prevention and the promotion of children's health.

"Scientists from across NIEHS gave their time and input to the National Conversation on Public Health and Chemical Exposures, helping to create a rich and thoughtful set of recommendations to move the country forward on chemicals management and safety," explained John Balbus, M.D.(, senior advisor for public health and one of several NIEHS contributors to the report.  Others included Jean Harry, Ph.D., Liam O'Fallon, Fred Miller, M.D., Ph.D., and Beth Anderson (see related story( for details).

"The National Conversation was grounded in the vision of a nation that uses and manages chemicals in ways that are safe and healthy for all people," added Chris Portier, Ph.D., director for the National Center for Environmental Health and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a fellow participant in the Conversation initiative. "This vision grows out of the nation's rising awareness that human health and the environment are deeply intertwined." Portier was a former NIEHS senior advisor. 

For more information regarding the report and its recommendations, visit the National Conversation website.

(Ian Thomas is a writer/editor in the NIEHS Office of Communications and Public Liaison)

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