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.
WHY THE INCREASED RISK?
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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.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
  • 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.
LEARN MORE!

Visit CDC’s Environmental Public Health Tracking Network to learn more about children’s environmental health.
www.cdc.gov/ephtracking

Page last reviewed: October 11, 2019