Children interact with our environment much differently than adults do, which is why children’s environmental health is so important. As their bodies rapidly grow and develop, they breathe in more air and take in more food and liquids in proportion to their body weight than adults. They also have more physical contact with the environment than adults, as they touch things around them with their hands and mouths.
Understanding the potential health hazards in our environment—such as lead in paint, contaminants in drinking water, chemicals in children’s products, carbon monoxide and other pollutants, and contaminants in recreational water—is the first step to ensuring a healthy environment for children. Parents, caregivers and child care providers can learn about potential environmental hazards to children and best practices for preventing exposure.