Children's Health Protection
Children may be more vulnerable to environmental exposures than adults because:
- Their bodily systems are still developing
- They eat more, drink more, and breathe more in proportion to their body size
- Their behavior can expose them more to chemicals and organisms
EPA views childhood as a sequence of lifestages form conception through fetal development, infancy, and adolescence. Protecting children's health from environmental risks is fundamental to EPA's mission. Get the facts about children's environmental health.
Everyone Can Help to Provide a Safe Environment for America's Children
EPA celebrates Children's Health Month each October by developing publications and activities that highlight the importance of protecting children from environmental risks. This year, we are featuring work to protect children in their homes and schools. Read the Child Health Day 2009 Presidential Proclamation (PDF) (1 pg, 386K, About PDF) and EPA's press release about Children's Health Month 2009.
On October 6, 2008 EPA launched a new campaign to educate middle and high school students about climate change and its effects on children's health. Teens will create a new climate for action by taking action to address global climate change and encouraging their friends and families to do the same. This work continues and we encourage participation.
Domestic Indicators of Children's Environmental Health
America's Children and the Environment: EPA's America's Children and the Environment site brings together quantitative information from a variety of sources to show: trends in levels of environmental contaminants in air, water, food, and soil; concentrations of contaminants measured in the bodies of mothers and children; and childhood diseases that may be influenced by environmental factors.
America's Children and the Environment website: Presents the latest information on trends in environmental factors related to the health and well-being of children in the United States, including data on contaminants, exposures, and childhood illnesses. Analyses of measures by race/ethnicity and family income are included where data are available.
America's Children and the Environment reports: Provides links to previously published editions of America's Children and the Environment, including downloadable files and instructions for ordering hard copies.
EPA's Environmental Indicators Initiative: This initiative improves the Agency's ability to report on the status of and trends in environmental conditions and their impacts on human health and the nation's natural resources. The Indicators Initiative also identifies where additional research, data quality improvements, and information are needed. EPA's long-term goal is to improve the indicators and data that are used to guide the Agency's strategic plans, priorities, performance reports, and decision-making.
Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics: The Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics (the Forum) is a collection of 20 Federal government agencies involved in research and activities related to children and families. EPA is a member of the Forum and is represented by both OCHP and the Office of Environmental Information. The Forum was founded in 1994 and formally established in April 1997 under Executive Order No. 13045. The mission of the Forum is to foster coordination and collaboration and to enhance and improve consistency in the collection and reporting of Federal data on children and families. Also, the Forum aims to improve the reporting and dissemination of information on the status of children and families.
The Forum's annual report, America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, published in 2009, provides the Nation with a summary of national indicators of child well-being and monitors changes in these indicators over time.
Community-based cumulative risk assessment (CBRA) is an approach to: 1) investigate multiple chemical and non-chemical stressors (e.g., psychosocial stress, violence, poverty, poor nutritional status) faced by a community; and 2) work in partnership with the community to instill confidence and trust among the public.
EPA's Human Health Research Program (HHRP) has a long-term goal to understand how cumulative exposures affect human health. Additionally, HHRP has an objective to understand more about community risk from exposure to both chemical and non-chemical stressors.
Women and children around the world are disproportionately affected by air pollution from cooking and heating fires. Approximately half of the world's human population depends on burning solid fuels for cooking, boiling water, and heating. Solid fuels include wood, charcoal, coal, crop residues, other biomass, animal dung, and various wastes. The WHO (World Health Organization) estimates that more than 1.5 million people prematurely die each year due to exposure to the smoke and other air pollutants from burning solid fuels. Millions more people suffer with difficulty in breathing, stinging eyes, and chronic respiratory disease. Women and children are disproportionately affected, because they tend to spend more time close to cook stoves. WHO identifies indoor smoke from solid fuels among the top 10 health risks, and indoor air pollution is responsible for an estimated 2.7 percent of the global burden of disease.
ORD/NRMRL has tested solid-fuel household cook stoves to evaluate performance and emissions in support of the PCIA (Partnership for Clean Indoor Air) - 313 partner organizations are contributing their resources and expertise to reduce smoke exposure from cooking and heating practices in households around the world.
ORD/NRMRL is planning further testing of cook stoves to evaluate performance and pollutant emissions that cause harmful health and environmental effects.