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About this Issue

Science Matters to Children's Environmental Health

Young children playing with a ball outside

Picking food up from the floor, playing in dirt, exploring the world through touch and taste. These are all normal parts of child development. But they are also some of the behaviors that may mean trouble for young children under the wrong circumstances.

From an environmental health perspective, the behavior of children may increase their risk of exposure to potentially harmful chemicals. What's more, pound-for-pound children eat, drink, and breathe more than adults. And because their bodies and internal systems are still growing and developing, the earliest stages of life are periods when the potentially harmful effects of environmental exposures can be most pronounced.

Keeping children safe is the focus across the government during October: Children's Health Month. President Obama marked Child Health Day on October 1, 2012 with a Proclamation that states:

A safe environment in which our children can live and grow is also essential to their well-being. Because clean water is the foundation for healthy communities, we are working to reduce contaminants in our drinking water by updating standards and better protecting our water sources from pollution. We are also building on the successes of the Clean Air Act to improve our air quality and help decrease harmful toxins that can lead to acute bronchitis, asthma, cancer, and impaired development.

EPA scientists and their research partners have been working to support clean water, clean air, and fewer toxins in the environment for more than 40 years. Much of that work has focused specifically on advancing children's health.

Today, EPA research continues to provide a better understanding of how young people at every stage of development can be exposed to harmful substances in the environment and what those exposures might mean to their health today and well into the future.

Please enjoy this issue of EPA's Science Matters to learn more about how EPA researchers and their partners are working to protect children from environmental threats and promote environmental health wherever they live, learn, and play.

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