Children are more likely than adults to get an
environmental illness, because they are
still developing. Also, some ways that children behave, such as crawling and putting things in their mouths, can expose them to dangerous substances.
Children in urban areas are most affected by environmental illnesses. The
prevalence and number of deaths from
asthma is highest among poor urban children. Because
of their exposure to pollutants,
cigarette smoke, pesticides,
toxins in our environment, research shows that
children may be increasingly affected by:
Some environmental factors affecting
children's health include:
Parents may be concerned that their children are being exposed to
environmental hazards at home and in school. Think about the following questions,
and talk to your child's doctor if you are worried your child may be at risk for
Akinbami LK, et al. (2011). Asthma prevalence, health care use, and mortality: United States, 2005–2009. National Health Statistics Reports, 32: 1–16.
Woodruff TJ, et al. (2004). Trends in
environmentally related childhood illnesses. Pediatrics,
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(2012). Child development: Developmental monitoring and screening. Available online:
American Academy of Pediatrics (2005). Lead poisoning
from a toy necklace. Pediatrics, 116(4):
American Academy of Pediatrics (2005). The need for
vigilance: The persistence of lead poisoning in children. Pediatrics, 115(6): 1767–1768.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2007).
Assessing health risks from pesticides. Available online:
September 23, 2011
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
& Peter Rabinowitz, MD, MPH - Occupational and Environmental Medicine
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