Washington, DC - Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, announced today that she introduced several pieces of legislation aimed at protecting children and families from dangerous toxins in drinking water, addressing potential increases of a disease within a community, and ensuring that buildings across the nation reduce pollution and are more energy efficient.

Senator Boxer said: "Protecting the health of our children and families is a top priority on the Environment and Public Works Committee. I am pleased to introduce legislation that will reduce toxins in our drinking water, and help families address potential disease clusters in their communities. We are also taking steps to ensure that the nation's buildings reduce pollution and are more energy efficient. I look forward to working with my colleagues to move these important bills through the Senate."

Senator Boxer introduced the following pieces of legislation:

S. 76, Strengthening Protections for Children and Communities From Disease Clusters Act

When a community is concerned that they are experiencing an unexpected increase in the incidence of birth defects, cancer or other diseases, people become concerned and want help in getting answers to their questions. Senator Boxer introduced this legislation with Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) to help communities that want to investigate and address "disease clusters." The bipartisan bill aims to:

• Strengthen federal agency coordination and accountability when investigating these potential certain "clusters" of disease;
• Increase assistance to areas impacted by potential disease clusters; and
• Authorize federal agencies to form partnerships with states and academic institutions to investigate and help address disease clusters.

S. 77, The Pollution and Cost Reduction Act

According to the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the building sector in the United States is the nation's largest energy user. The Pollution and Cost Reduction Act would improve the efficiency and sustainability of the nation's building sector and reduce air pollution from commercial and residential buildings, by establishing a Building Pollution Reduction program at EPA. The program will provide financial assistance for activities that reduce pollution and energy use at commercial and residential buildings.

S. 78, Protecting Pregnant Women and Children from Perchlorate in Drinking Water

Perchlorate, a toxic component of rocket fuel that contaminates water supplies in at least 35 states, including California, is particularly dangerous to pregnant women, infants and children. This legislation would require the Environmental Protecting Agency (EPA) to create a drinking water standard for perchlorate that protects children and families from this dangerous toxin.

S. 79, Protecting Pregnant Women and Children from Hexavalent Chromium in Drinking Water

Hexavalent chromium, or chromium-6, is a dangerous toxin that has been found in drinking water supplies in California and across the country. The legislation introduced today by Senator Boxer, with Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) as an original co-sponsor, would establish a deadline for EPA to set an enforceable drinking water safeguard for hexavalent chromium.

Yesterday, the Senate Leadership also introduced the first ten bills of the year, S. 1 to S. 10, to set out Senate Democrats' agenda for the 112th Congress. Several of those bills include issues which fall under the EPW committee's jurisdiction, focusing on improving public health, creating a cleaner environment and increasing investment in infrastructure. For example, the American Competitive Act, or S. 1, includes provisions to invest in new infrastructure, modernize and improve highways, bridges and transit systems to reduce congestion, and upgrade levees, dams and ports across the country. The package also includes the Middle Class Success Act, or S. 2, which makes it a priority to ensure that families have access to a healthy and clean environment, including access to safe drinking water. The Make America the World's Leader in Clean Energy Act, or S. 4, calls for the federal government to be a leader in reducing harmful energy-related air, land, and water pollution.