December 18, 2015

Trevor's Law Passes U.S. Senate

Effort by Idahoans on cancer cluster study spearheaded by Crapo

Washington, D.C.  - An historic improvement of how childhood and adultcancers are documented and studied across the United Stateshas passed the U.S. Senate as part of a Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) reform bill.  Named for former McCall and now Boise resident,Trevor Schaefer, Trevor's Law was included by Idaho Senator Mike Crapo in the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act.  Crapo, who introduced the bill originally in 2011, was joined by his Senate colleagues, Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee Chairman James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), Ranking Member Barbara Boxer (D-California), Senators David Vitter (R-Louisiana) and Tom Udall (D-New Mexico), to ensure final passage.

Trevor's Law calls on the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop criteria to monitor, track and respond to instances of potential cancer clusters in the United States.  The legislationwould create a mechanism to study and document where such clusters exist, why they exist, and who they might affect.  The law seeks to improve communication and data sharing between local, state and federal governments.  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) would also be required to track cancer clusters and offer assistance as needed to local residents and government officials.

Trevor Schaefer survived a diagnosis of brain cancer at age 13.  He and his mother, Charlie Smith, also of Boise, and Susan Rosser, brought the idea for cancer cluster legislation to Crapo in 2010.  Crapo and Boxer introduced the original bill in 2011 and similar legislation again in 2013, when Trevor joined cancer activist Erin Brockovich and others to testify before the committee in Washington, D.C.

"I am extremely excited for the Senate passage of Trevor's Law and TSCA reform," said Trevor Schaefer.  "Thanks to the tireless efforts of Senators Crapo, Boxer, Inhofe, Vitter, Udall, their staff and many others, the 40 year old Toxic Substances Control Act has been given new life and resources to protect our children and communities from harmful toxins.  We have made great strides in our country on curing childhood cancer, and now with this important legislation we can also focus on the causation and prevention of this dreaded disease.  I am honored to have Trevor's Law included in legislation named after the late, great senator Frank R. Lautenberg."

"Hearing the words your child has cancer is a parent's worst nightmare," said Charlie Smith.  "When my son Trevor was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2002 the first question I asked myself was why did this happen to my child. There is mounting evidence that environmental exposures and toxic chemicals play a pivotal role in creating potential cancer clusters throughout our country.  I sincerely want to thank Senators Mike Crapo, Barbara Boxer, James Inhofe, David Vitter and Tom Udall for their support in passing TSCA reform and Trevor's Law."

Crapo, also a two-time cancer survivor, said, "I know from experience how families and those battling cancer deserve support and answers.  This law will better coordinate how we respond across the public and private sectors and bring the study of cancer clusters to a new level."

Senator Boxer said; "Trevor's cancer cluster law was one of the key changes that had to be in the Senate bill before I could support moving the legislation forward in the process. The focus of the TSCA bill should be the health of our families -- we cannot turn our backs on children with cancer. I am so pleased Trevor's law was included in the final Senate-passed bill."

Trevor Schaefer, Charlie Smith and Susan Rosser formed the Trevor's Trek Foundation to bring attention to cancer clusters.  The TSCA bill that included the Trevor language is being heralded by Inhofe as the "first major environmental law rewrite in decades."  It reforms and strengthens chemical safety regulations as outlined in legislation crafted by the late Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-New Jersey), who Crapo served alongside on the EPW's Subcommittee on Superfund, Toxics, and Environmental Health as Chairman and Ranking Member, respectively.  

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