Top Three Questions
- Office of Children's Health Protection
- Student Curriculum: Recipes for Healthy Kids and a Healthy Environment
- President's Task Force on Environmental Health Risks & Safety Risks to Children and Fact Sheet (PDF) (2 pp, 288K, About PDF)
- School Siting Guidelines and Fact Sheet (PDF) (2 pp, 109K, About PDF)
- What You Can Do
- Recent Product Recalls
- Environmental Education
- Healthy School Environments
- Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
- America's Children and the Environment
May is Asthma Awareness Month
Take Action During Asthma Awareness Month
What is Asthma?
Asthma is a serious, life-threatening respiratory disease that affects more than 20 million Americans. Rates of asthma have risen sharply over the past 30 years, particularly among children ages 5 to 14. Although there is no cure for asthma yet, asthma can be controlled through medical treatment and management of environmental triggers.
Learn more about elements found in the indoor and outdoor environment that can cause, trigger, or worsen asthma symptoms and what you can do to reduce their impact.
- Secondhand smoke is a mixture of smoke from the burning end of a cigarette, pipe, or cigar and the smoke exhaled by the smoker that is often found in homes and cars where smoking is allowed.
- Dust mites are too small to be seen, but can be found in almost every home in mattresses and bedding materials, carpets, upholstered furniture, stuffed toys, and curtains.
- Mold can grow indoors when mold spores land on wet or damp surfaces. In the home, mold is most commonly found in the bathroom, kitchen, and basement.
- Cockroaches and other pests’ body parts, secretions, droppings and urine, and droppings and saliva of pests such as rodents, are often found in areas where food and water are present.
- Warm-blooded pets’ (such as cats and dogs) skin flakes, urine, and saliva can be found in homes where pets are allowed inside.
- Nitrogen dioxide is a byproduct of indoor fuel-burning appliances, such as gas stoves, gas or oil furnaces, fireplaces, wood stoves, and unvented kerosene or gas space heaters.
Preventing Asthma Attacks
Step 1: Talk to a doctor
If your child has asthma, or you think your child may have asthma, take your child to a doctor. Your doctor will work with you to keep your child from having asthma attacks.
Step 2: Make a plan
Work with your doctor to create an Asthma Action Plan that will help you learn to prevent your child’s asthma attacks and will help control your child's asthma on a regular basis. To help you work with your doctor to create an Asthma Action Plan for your individual circumstances, you can download a sample plan (PDF) (2 pp., 123K, About PDF).
When you and your doctor make the plan, be sure to include:
- Your child’s asthma triggers
- Instructions for asthma medicines
- What to do if your child has an asthma attack
- When to call your doctor
- Emergency telephone numbers
Step 3: Asthma-proof your home
Triggers are a part of everyday life. Learn more about things that might trigger an asthma attack, and what you can do to control or get rid of them and help your child stay healthy.
For More Information
- Visit EPA’s Asthma Awareness Month website
- Learn more about asthma triggers
- Learn about the President's Task Force on Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks to Children
- Download and distribute EPA asthma publications at no cost
- Join AsthmaCommunityNetwork.org to meet asthma champions around the country
Protecting children, our youngest and most sensitive citizens, from environmental health risks is fundamental to EPA's mission of protecting human health and the environment. It is essential that children have clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, safe food to eat, and a healthy environment in which to learn, grow and thrive. Children grow best in such environments.
Children may be more vulnerable to some environmental risks than adults for several reasons:
- Compared to adults, children proportionately eat more food, drink more fluids, and breathe more air than adults. As a result, they are exposed to more pollutants per pound of body weight than adults.
- Children may be more vulnerable than adults to environmental hazards because their systems are still developing, often making them less able to process and eliminate toxins.
- Children's behavior patterns and natural curiosity can put them in harm's way, which can increase their exposure to pollutants.
- Children are least able to protect themselves.
- Children have a longer life expectancy than past generations.
- Fewer than half of the synthetic chemicals that have been developed and released to the environment have been tested for potential human toxicity, and fewer still for their potential effects on children.
- Children represent 25 percent of our population, but 100 percent of our future.
Major Environmental ConcernsThese are the most common concerns for children in Region 7:
- Air quality and air pollutants
- Environmental Justice
- Healthy Homes
- Healthy Schools
- Lead poisoning prevention
Mid-America Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit
The Mid-America Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (MAPEHSU)is the pediatric environmental health specialty unit (PEHSU) for the Region 7 states of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. The goal of the PEHSU Program is to increase the knowledge base of pediatric environmental medicine for health professionals by providing a forum for collaboration of environmental specialists and pediatricians.
TThe PEHSU is funded through a cooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and EPA Region 7. Funds are administered through the Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics (AOEC).
The MAPEHSU is dedicated to providing expert clinical, consultative, and educational services to improve the recognition and treatment of children's environmental health problems in the Region 7 states.
MAPEHSU services include:
Consultation - Medical consultation or advice from a physician or health care provider with expertise in pediatric environmental health
Referrals - Referrals to health agencies with an interest in pediatric environmental health
Education and Outreach - Pediatric environmental health-focused education and outreach to the medical community
For general inquiries, call the MAPEHSU toll-free at 1-800-421-9916.
EPA Region 7 ContactLaTonya Sanders
Children's Health Coordinator