Advocates & Policymakers Highlight Children’s Environmental Health in California

By Colleen Corrigan

November 3, 2022

Top image via iStock from FatCamera

Earlier this summer, HR 123 (Eloise Gómez Reyes) was passed to recognize October 2022 as Children’s Environmental Health Month in California. To raise awareness of the environmental issues threatening children’s health in California, Children Now and partners hosted a state policymaker briefing on October 20, 2022, for legislative staff (see below for a full list of co-sponsoring organizations).

The briefing, on environmental hazards like lead and pesticide exposure, included testimony from San Diego pediatrician Dr. Vi Thuy Nguyen, Greenfield city councilmember Yanely Martinez, a youth activist and high school student, Victor, and other policy experts. The panel highlighted how these environmental hazards impact children’s learning, well-being, and lifelong health outcomes and offered potential policy solutions and opportunities for our State leaders.

To support the information presented at the policymaker briefing, the following materials were developed for legislative staff and stakeholders:

In addition to the policymaker briefing, the Environmental Working Group, Assembly Majority Leader Eloise Gómez Reyes, advocates, and scientific experts hosted a press conference on children’s environmental health (See the recording here, Passcode: 3M@JVD#f).

Environmental health is a children’s health issue and an equity issue. Every child deserves a safe and clean world to play, learn, and grow up in, but that reality doesn’t exist in many of California’s most marginalized communities. For example, asthma is the most common childhood health condition in California, making it difficult for children to exercise, play and attend school. African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Latino children, have the highest asthma prevalence and hospitalization rates in California because of environmental racism that concentrates highways, industrial plants, toxic chemicals, neglected soil, corroded plumbing, and pesticide use in communities of color.

Policymaker briefing co-sponsor organizations included:

Children Now; Environmental Working Group; Californians for Pesticide Reform; Families Advocating for Chemical and Toxic Safety; American Academy of Pediatrics\California; American Nurses Association, California; Breast Cancer Over Time; Brighter Beginnings; California Nurses for Environmental Health & Justice; California School-Based Health Alliance; Center for Environmental Health; Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment; Central California Environmental Justice Network; Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy; Children’s Specialty Care Coalition; Friends Committee on Legislation in California; Los Angeles Trust for Children’s Health; Monterey Bay Central Labor Council; Pesticide Action Network; Physicians for Social Responsibility Los Angeles; Regional Asthma Management & Prevention; Sierra Club, California; and Western Center on Law & Poverty.