According to Trevor Schaefer, the name behind inspiring Trevor’s Law as well as politicians and environmental health advocates said that the federal legislation which was passed in order to investigate and keep a track of cancer clusters has not been implemented either since it came into effect five years ago.
The law’s namesake Trevor Schaefer was concerned as to how many more children will need to suffer before the government follows its own laws. Schaefer is of the opinion that many of these cancers could have been prevented with responsible action.
Trevor’s Law, That Passed To Track Cancer Clusters Has Not Happened Yet
On part of the federal health agencies, they have been largely preoccupied with the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic since the past year and a half.
However, supporters of Trevor’s Law argue that the priority did not go down in those communities with possibly high-risk environmental conditions, which requires an all-inclusive response, especially where cases of incomprehensible and unexplained childhood cancers are prominent.
Ever since the time U.S.A’s then-President Barack Obama sanctioned the updated federal legislation which “Trevor’s Law” falls under five years ago in 2016, thus reforming the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976, there have been no fresh regulations about how to possibly respond to potential cancer clusters, because of which there have been no further investigations on the federal level as well.
Trevor Schaefer, who inspired the “Trevor’s Law” after he successfully battled childhood brain cancer at the age of thirteen in 2002 said that the law is meant to make it smoother for the state as well as local authorities to liaise with the federal government.
During fall 2018, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had started work towards updating existing regulations regarding cancer clusters, when Donald Trump’s administration had approved one million dollars for the effort. The CDC had also asked for public opinions over a couple of months in 2019.
An additional sum was allocated to the “Trevor’s Law” by congress in the financial year 2020-2021, adding up to a total of $4.5 million. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee is said to be looking at increasing the funding for the financial year 2022 according to a statement released by her office.
Upon enquiring about how the funding was put to use, the CDC said that it was utilized to collect more information about the best ways to update regulations and develop resources and tools that the public health agencies can use while carrying out investigations.
The CDC further added that it expected the revised guidelines to be published in 2022. CDC also acknowledged in its “cancer cluster guidelines” that owing to the pandemic, it faced roadblocks in the past year in engaging resources for helping in the effort.
Because of experts having to shift their focus towards the COVID 19 pandemic, the availability of subject matter experts at the federal, state, local as well as community levels has been limited, according to CDC.
Amongst the steps that the CDC has been taking to update the regulations include organizing online surveys for the state and local health departments regarding how they respond to uncommon patterns of cancer and managing focus groups with community members.
While Trevor Schaefer did acknowledge the added burden on The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention owning to the ongoing pandemic, he refused to believe that the initiatives taken since the law was passed five years ago could possibly amount to the millions of dollars assigned to the law.
Besides, when Susan Wind of Florida received an email invitation to participate in a CDC-sponsored 90-minute focus group when she tried to fill out the online registration form, the link didn’t work.