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News Releases from Region 06

EPA and Partners Emphasize Children’s Environmental Health at Annual Conference

Contact Information: 
Jennah Durant or Joe Hubbard (
214 665-2200

DALLAS – (Aug. 25, 2016) Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) and the Southwest Center for Pediatric Environmental Health brought together healthcare workers, environmental experts and community leaders from the U.S. and Mexico for this year’s Children’s Environmental Health Symposium. The event, also sponsored by EPA’s US-Mexico Border program, the Border Environmental Cooperation Commission and the “Strong Cities, Strong Communities” White House initiative, highlighted health challenges for children living in the border area.

“Protecting children’s health is one of EPA’s most important priorities, a goal that factors into nearly all our decisions,” said EPA Regional Administrator Ron Curry. “We are so pleased to have UTRGV and our other partners help bring together and educate people who share this goal.”

“The health and education of our youth is the highest priority,” said Veronica Gonzales, UTRGV vice president for Government and Community Relations. “Our local and regional health care providers, in collaboration with the EPA and Congress, will continue to work tirelessly to ensure all children grow up in nourishing environments. Strong, healthy children excel in school, make the right choices, and develop into positively contributing members of their communities.”

Topics included environmental factors that contribute to children’s health issues, such as air quality, pesticides, and tobacco, as well as guidance on building awareness of these and other issues in border communities. Panels were conducted in English and Spanish, with speakers including doctors and other healthcare workers, community advocates and EPA experts.

EPA places special focus on children’s health because kids are often more vulnerable to pollutants than adults due to differences in behavior and biology, which can lead to greater exposure and susceptibility during development. EPA’s children’s environmental health policy directs the agency to explicitly and consistently take into account environmental health risks to infants and children in all risk characterizations and U.S. public health standards.

EPA’s Border 2020 program sets a framework for achieving environmental goals in areas along the U.S.-Mexico border. The program emphasizes regional, bottom-up approaches for decision making, priority setting, and project implementation to address the environmental and public health problems in the border region while encouraging meaningful participation from communities and local stakeholders.

The White House Strong Cities, Strong Communities initiative aims to strengthen neighborhoods, towns, cities and regions around the country by strengthening the capacity of local governments to develop and execute their economic vision and strategies. Strong Cities, Strong Communities bolsters local governments by providing necessary technical assistance and access to federal agency expertise, and creating new public and private sector partnerships.

More about children’s environmental health: /children

More on EPA’s Border 2020 program: /border2020

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