A government agency is a department of the government that is assigned an important task to help the citizens of the United States. It's very important for us to understand that we all are a part of our government. All of us, even kids, can actively participate in government planning and activities. We can make suggestions to influence what these agencies are doing to help and protect us. We can ask questions. We can also ask for help. After you have studied the interview below, make a list of questions and suggestions to help ATSDR protect the health of the children of our Earth. Send this list to KSE, PO Box 421118, Minneapolis, MN 55442 or e-mail them to KSEWW@aol.com. We will be sure to give your list to people who can help you out at ATSDR.
About ATSDR Dr. Henry Falk is the head of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. ATSDR's mission is to prevent or reduce the harmful effects of hazardous substances in communities across the country.
So what does all this mean?To find out, Everett Law, age 16, from Henry High in Minneapolis, MN, asked Dr. Falk some important questions.
What do you see as the most important part of your mission? "The most important part of our mission is to improve health issues that are due to toxic waste sites."
Can you explain to kids what a health assessment means? Very often in the communities with toxic waste sites there may be health problems from pollution in the air, water, or ground. ATSDR goes into these communities and answers questions like: Do kids have to worry about being exposed to toxicants? Are the chemicals that are in the area traveling into the water, soil, and air enough that it causes health problems? If we decide there are possible health concerns, we work with the citizens of the area, the EPA, and the polluters to find solutions.
Do you think that children can become ill from toxic waste sites, and why? Maybe not with a small amount of chemicals, but there is no question that if the level of chemicals is high enough they can become ill. For example, we see cases of illness due to high levels of mercury. It is very important to clean up the waste sites.

How can kids help prevent more toxic waste?

By paying attention to environmental issues, and letting everyone know what you are concerned about. By belonging to environmental groups or worldwide organizations such as Kids For Saving Earth and learning about these issues, kids can educate and warn other people. Toxic waste sites occur because polluters are careless. They pollute without letting others know about it. Kids should keep their eyes open for polluters, always stay away from the pollution, and then notify an adult.
Join The Kids for Saving Earth Network for Free! Cancer sadly took Clinton Hill's life at the age of 11. But Clint's dream inspired a movement of children all over the world to protect the Earth. He loved the Earth and all its living creatures. He called himself a "Nature Lover and Defender of the Planet." He wanted to make this planet clean and beautiful. Clint drew a poster and started a club called Kids for Saving Earth (KSE). Clint's family established Kids for Saving Earth as a non-profit organization with the mission of educating, inspiring, and empowering children to protect the Earth.

Send the completed form below to: KSE, 37955 Bridge Road, North Branch, MN 55056

Click here for the printable version!
Click here for the Spanish version!

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