In recognition of the growing body of scientific information demonstrating that America’s children suffer disproportionately from environmental health risks and safety risks, President Clinton issued Executive Order 13045 on April 21, 1997, directing each Federal Agency to make it a high priority to identify, assess, and address those risks. In issuing this order, the President also created the Task Force on Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks to Children, co-chaired by Donna Shalala, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, and Carol M. Browner, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. The Task Force was charged with recommending strategies for protecting children’s environmental health and safety. Two subcommittees were established in the Executive Order to carry out this directive: a subcommittee directed to review and foster public access to federal government sponsored research on environmental health and safety risks to children, and a subcommittee directed to identify priority public outreach activities related to protecting children’s environmental health and safety.
In April 1998, the Task Force identified four priority areas for immediate attention: childhood asthma, unintentional injuries, developmental disorders, and childhood cancer. The Task Force created and charged the Asthma Priority Area Workgroup, co-chaired by EPA and DHHS, with reviewing current Federal efforts to address the many facets of the issue and, most importantly, to make appropriate recommendations for action by the Federal government. This strategy is the result of that effort.