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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, allergens, cigarette smoke, pesticides, lead, and 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 environmental illnesses:
- 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, 113(4): 1133–1140.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2012). Child development: Developmental monitoring and screening. Available online: http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/childdevelopment/screening.html.
- American Academy of Pediatrics (2005). Lead poisoning from a toy necklace. Pediatrics, 116(4): 1050–1051.
- 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: http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/factsheets/riskassess.htm.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||Peter Rabinowitz, MD, MPH - Occupational and Environmental Medicine|
|Last Revised||September 23, 2011|
Last Revised: September 23, 2011
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