EPA earns enviro praise by updating cancer guidelines to protect kids

Here’s a rarity: Enviros actually praised a Bush administration move last week. The U.S. EPA earned the plaudits by announcing that it will update its nearly 20-year-old chemical-assessment approach for evaluating potential human carcinogens, to account for differences between adults and children and between lab animals and humans. The new guidelines will influence agency rules on everything from clean air and water to pesticide regulation and old Superfund sites. Recent studies have shown that kids from age 2 to 16 may be at three times greater risk than adults of getting cancer from chemicals, and kids younger than 2 at 10 times greater risk, something the new approach finally takes into account. Most environmental groups praised the new guidelines, though a few were skeptical of the language, courtesy of the Office of Management and Budget, that lets outside groups — say, industry — challenge the science before it becomes part of the guidelines.