Call Senate Appropriators
June 28, 2006
Take Action Now! Please contact Senate Appropriations Subcommittee members and urge them to support including $69 million needed to implement the National Children’s Study in the Fiscal Year 2007 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies appropriations bill. (See below for list of members).
Why this Issue is Important: The National Children's Study is greatly needed research aimed at identifying the preventable and environmental causes of chronic diseases, like asthma, obesity, developmental disabilities, childhood cancer and birth defects, that are reaching epidemic proportions in American children. The National Children’s Study is a longitudinal study of 100,000 pregnant women whose children will be followed from before birth until age 21.
Because children are exposed to environmental hazards at an early age, they have more extended time to develop slowly-progressing environmentally triggered illnesses such as asthma, certain cancers and learning disabilities. This study will make unique and significant contributions to our understanding how behavioral, social and environmental factors in early life may cause or predispose individuals to certain chronic diseases or conditions. It will save the lives and improve the health of millions of American children.
USCCB Position: As Catholics, we are called to respect human life and dignity, to care for God’s gift of creation and to protect the most vulnerable among us. “For generations, the Catholic community has reached out to children… We have defended their right to life itself and their right to live with dignity, to realize the bright promise and opportunity of childhood. Now we renew this commitment and build on it. We seek to bring new hope and concrete help to a generation of children at risk.” (Putting Children and Families First, p. 17).
We respond to the call to act with mercy and justice when we meet the challenge of ensuring a safe and healthy environment for our children. We are guided by Catholic social teaching and our religious tradition within the new and changing circumstances which present themselves as environmental and health questions. We are called to act within our own lives and institutions as well as in our community’s social, political and economic structures and institutions to protect all God’s children.
Background: USCCB, along with members of the Catholic Coalition for Children and a Safe Environment (www.usccb.org/case), a partnership of over ten national Catholic organizations concerned about the environmental impacts on children, has led efforts to secure additional funding in FY 2007 for the National Children’s Study.
The Study, which is being coordinated by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), will provide information about environmental threats that may affect children's physical, mental, emotional and developmental health. The Study will examine environmental links to diseases that affect not only children but adults as well – asthma, cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, diabetes, obesity and osteoporosis, among others. The success of other longitudinal studies of similar scope – from the Framingham Heart Study, launched in 1948 to study cardiovascular disease, to the Women’s Health Initiative, a 15-year project involving postmenopausal women– show the value of such studies in promoting health and preventing chronic disease.
NICHD estimates that the major chronic diseases the study will address directly cost America $269 billion per year. If the study were to result in only a 1% reduction in those costs, the expense of the entire twenty-plus year study could be recouped in a single year.
Call your Senator Now! Members of the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies will meet soon to decide on FY 2007 federal budget appropriations. The following is a list of members of the Senate Subcommittee:
Senator Arlen Specter (Chairman) (R-PA), 202-224-4254
Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS), 202-224-5054
Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH), 202-224-3324
Senator Larry Craig (R-ID), 202-224-2752
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), 202-224-5922
Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK), 202-224-3004
Senator Mike DeWine (R-OH), 202-224-2315
Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), 202-224-5744
Senator Tom Harkin (Ranking Member) (D-IA), 202-224-3254
Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI), 202-224-3934
Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), 202-224-3542
Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI), 202-224-5653
Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), 202-224-2621
Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA), 202-224-5824
Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), 202-224-2152
For more information, contact:
Roxana U. Barillas, Project Administrator, USCCB, 202-541-3445, firstname.lastname@example.org