Doctors and Scientists for Environmental Health

This petition is to express concern aboutthe California proposal to eliminate Cal/EPA's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) and scatter its functions among other agencies, boards, and departments.

OEHHA's General Fund budget of $8.3 million represents a tiny fraction of the state's General Fund, yet its' work is critical to the health of future generations. We urge California to address the state budget gap in other ways.

It urges that California's nationally recognized, science based OEHHA remain intact and independent.

Governor Schwarzenegger,Senate Pro Tempore Steinberg Speaker Bass,Senator Hollingsworth,Assemblymember Blakeslee,Assemblymember Evans

Dear California Leaders:

We, the undersigned scientists and health researchers from around the nation and internationally who are concerned about the health of children, workers, and the public in California and elsewhere, are very concerned about the California proposal to eliminate Cal/EPA's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) and scatter its functions among other agencies, boards, and departments.

While we acknowledge the difficult work you face to address California's very serious budget situation, eliminating an independent OEHHA would do little to help the budget situation, but would strip California of essential leadership and expertise in environmental health. Moreover, this proposed change moves California away from science-based public programs at a time when there is an increasing understanding of the importance of using science to guide appropriate policy and decision-making.

The scientists and physicians at OEHHA ensure the high quality and rigor of the policies that are put forward through Cal/EPA; their position of semi-independence allows them to assess health risks from an unbiased scientific perspective, making them essential to policymakers. OEHHA scientists evaluate the health impacts of chemical contaminants, such as air pollutants, drinking water contaminants and pesticides, including effects on infants and children. This work directly influences not only California's regulations to reduce pollution in the environment, but also inspires and informs more health-protective policies in other states, nationally, and globally. OEHHA also provides the scientific foundation for California's shift toward green chemistry. Scientists at OEHHA have distinguished credentials and are routinely appointed to committees that advise US EPA and other federal agencies and the National Academy of Sciences, thereby providing an important voice for California in debates over science policies that ultimately affect the state.

OEHHA's General Fund budget of $8.3 million represents a tiny fraction of the state's General Fund, yet its' work is critical to the health of future generations. We urge you to address this budget gap in other ways. Please keep California's nationally recognized, science based OEHHA intact and independent.

Thank you for considering our views.

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