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Children’s Health

The mission of the Children’s Environmental Health Program is to protect children in the places they live, learn, play and pray. We focus on protecting children from toxic chemical exposures because they are more at risk from even low dose exposures to environmental contaminates than adults are.

A few of the many factors that make children more sensitive to toxic exposures include:

  • Children are not little adults:
    • they consume more calories, drink more water, and breathe more air per pound than do adults, and therefore take in a larger amounts of any harmful substances that may be present
  • Children are curious:
    • natural curiosity, tendency to explore, and inclination to place their hands in their mouths often exposes them to health risks adults readily avoid
  • Children are still growing:
    • immature systems are less able to handle toxins:  their body tissues more readily absorb many harmful substances
  • Children are just starting out:
    • have more time to develop disease:  their longer remaining life span provides more time for environmentally induced diseases to develop

Source: Landrigan et al. “Children’s Health and the Environment: A New Agenda for Preventive Research,”
Environmental Health Perspectives, June 1998

Every person can have a positive impact on the health and development of children. To learn more and share this information with decision makers in your parent teacher organization, environmental club, school community, childcare center or house of worship, use the links on the left.

Children’s Health Research

CEHP’s reports contain a wealth of current research on children’s special vulnerabilities and the factors impacting children’s environmental health.

Potentials for exposure to industrial chemicals suspected of causing developmental neurotoxicity
Summary and appendix to the article, “Developmental Neurotoxicity of Industrial Chemicals – A Silent Pandemic,” by Philippe Grandjean and Philip Landrigan, published in the November 8, 2006 online edition of The Lancet.

Mental Retardation and Prenatal Methylmercury Toxicity
Trasande L, Schechter CB, Haynes KA, Landrigan PJ, March 2006.

Children’s health and the environment: a transatlantic dialogue
Landrigan PJ, Tamburlini G. Environmental Health Perspectives, October 2005.

The National Children’s Health Study Homepage

Ethics of Pesticide Testing in Humans
Landrigan PJ, McCally M, Oleskey C., Environmental Health Perspectives, November 2003.

Chemical contaminants in breast milk and their impacts on children’s health: an overview
Landrigan PJ, Sonawane B, Mattison D, McCally M, Garg A. Environmental Health Perspectives, June 2002.