WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has established a National Tribal Toxics Committee (NTTC) to give Indian tribes greater input on issues related to chemical safety, toxic chemicals and pollution prevention. This effort will further empower tribal communities to protect their health and environment from the risks of toxic chemicals. Creation of the NTTC is part of EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson's emphasis on improving chemical safety, building strong tribal partnerships and expanding the conversation on environmental justice. The NTTC will hold its first meeting in Washington, D.C. on June 1-2.
"As we focus on chemical safety and identify ways to reduce exposure to toxic chemicals and prevent pollution in Indian Country, it is absolutely critical that we listen to our tribal partners," said Steve Owens, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. "We want to ensure that we address the ways that tribal members are affected by toxic substances and promote pollution prevention efforts that reflect their interests and needs."
EPA believes that expanding tribal partnerships is important given the uniqueness of tribal cultures, communities, and environmental problems, and the need to respect tribal sovereignty, culture and heritage. The NTTC will help EPA better tailor and more efficiently address a variety of issues, including preventing poisoning from lead-based paint, expanding pollution prevention and safer chemical initiatives in Indian country, and better evaluating chemical exposures that may be unique to tribes and their members.