CDC’s Environmental Public Health Tracking: Children’s Environmental Health

The environment affects children differently than adults. Because their bodies are still growing, children are at greater risk if they are exposed to environmental contaminants.

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Children breathe more air, drink more water, and eat more food per pound of body weight than adults.

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Children are more likely to put their hands in their mouth.

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A child’s body may not be able to break down and get rid of harmful contaminants that enter their body.

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Because they are young, children have more time to develop health conditions and diseases from environmental exposures than adults who are exposed later in their life.

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Environmental hazards are not just outside, but can also be found inside a child’s home or school.

  • Prevent asthma at home by decreasing dust, cleaning up mold, and controlling pet dander.
  • If your home was built before 1978, have it tested for lead.
  • Damp-mop floors, damp-wipe surfaces, wash your child’s hands, pacifiers, and toys frequently.
  • Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol if you are pregnant.
  • Learn about safe fish eating.
  • Make sure your child gets regular vaccines.
  • Know when & where air pollution may be bad and avoid it.

Visit CDC’s Environmental Public Health Tracking Network to learn more about children’s environmental health.

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