Children’s Environmental Health in Michigan

Methodology

From Michigan Network for Children's Environmental Health
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The material initially entered in this wiki is from a report prepared by the Michigan Network for Children's Environmental Health that examined three major categories of children’s conditions; neurodevelopmental disorders, asthma, and childhood cancer. Based on a review of the literature, thirteen environmental contaminants or contaminant groups were selected that had the strongest evidence of a link to the three selected childhood conditions. The report provided a brief scientific background on these contaminants, including an overview of the sources of the contaminants, potential exposures to the contaminants—in the U.S. and in Michigan—and the scientific evidence linking the contaminants to neurodevelopmental disorders, respiratory health and asthma and/or cancer, along with related children’s health indices. Policies in Michigan related to the pollutants are then compared to best policy practices in other states for protecting children’s health. Finally, recommendations are made for policy reforms in Michigan to further protect our children from exposures to potentially harmful pollutants.

The methodology used to identify and compare relevant state policies was developed specifically for use in assembling this report by personnel of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and is described in the published article, “A systematic review of US state environmental legislation and regulation with regards to the prevention of neurodevelopmental disabilities and asthma.” (Zajac L, Sprecher E, Landrigan PJ, and Trasande L. Environmental Health 2009, 8:9, http://www.ehjournal.net/content/8/1/9.) In brief, state policy information was obtained primarily through the use of the LexisNexis Academic database. Parameters were set as follows: Legal → Federal & State Codes → State Codes, Constitutions, Court Rules & ALS, Combined. With these parameters set, the queries were derived from the section being covered (i.e., the title or a portion of the title of the subsection of the policy section for a given contaminant section). It should be noted that, under these parameters, executive orders and departmental regulations are not observed. As such, policies regulated through specific departments rather than through the passage of legislation will not necessarily be cited. This methodology was largely used for this report. However, where MNCEH had additional information, or where reviewers were able to provide additional information, that information was included. We of course hope that users will continue to update all portions of the wiki.

The Mt. Sinai team developed a very early draft of the report, but bear no responsibility for the final product, which has been extensively updated and expanded.

The rest of the report draws on the usual sources including peer-reviewed scientific and medical journals or databases containing such journals; federal and state government sources—including, but not limited to: studies and reports, data recorded by governmental agencies, and literature intended for the general public distributed by the government; NGO reports and websites; and interviews with experts.

The report that forms the basis of this wiki has been reviewed by external reviewers with relevant academic and professional backgrounds in the field of children’s environmental health. (A list of reviewers can be found in “Acknowledgements.”) Each section was reviewed by at least one expert, most were reviewed by at least two experts, and some sections were reviewed by three or four experts. The goal of these reviews was to ensure that the information—both scientific and legislative—was as current and accurately represented as possible. Staff of the Michigan Network for Children’s Environmental Health (MNCEH) incorporated reviewer suggestions. While MNCEH considered all reviewer comments, the ultimate decision to accept or reject comments was wholly determined by MNCEH. The MNCEH will continue to exercise editorial control over the content of the wiki.

Policy recommendations were developed in consultation with experts and after a review of best practices in other states.