Children's Environmental Health
From the PSR Pediatric Environmental Health Toolkit, endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics:
As a child progresses from fetus to adult, s/he passes through critical windows of development that mark periods of vulnerability where toxicant exposure can be particularly harmful. This is especially true for neurotoxicants such as lead, mercury, PCBs, alcohol and other solvents in which the timing of exposure, perhaps more than the actual toxic dose, can be critical in determining overall neurologic impact. Many toxicants can cross the placenta, thereby resulting in exposures during a very vulnerable period of early development.
The “Built Environment”- how we design and build our homes, communities, and roadways- is also linked with asthma. This includes the indoor environment, as well as the outdoor. Over reliance on the automobile and its resultant increase in ozone and fine particulate pollution contributes to the severity and frequency of attacks. The percentage of children with asthma has doubled over the past two decades, and is now the number one cause of school absenteeism attributed to chronic conditions.
A life in health: the effects of environmental hazards (Credit: “Inheriting a Sustainable World” / WHO)
Lead Poisoning Prevention
In their 2014 Annual Disease Surveillance Report, the CT Department of Public Health found decreased but continued incidents of lead poisoning in children.
Children are considered lead poisoned when diagnosed with a confirmed blood lead level greater than or equal to 5 ug/dL. Among children under the age of 6 who had a confirmed blood lead test:
o 2284 (30 per 1,000, i.e. 3.0%) children < or = to 5 ug/dL
o 213 (3 per 1,000, i.e. 0.3%) children < or = to 15 ug/dL
o 99 (1 per 1,000, i.e. 0.1%) children < or = to 20 ug/dL
From the Connecticut Depart of Public Health 2014 Annual Lead Surveillance Report
A Fairfield police vehicle drives down flooded streets in Fairfield
(Credit: "Pictures: The Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy" / MICHAEL McANDREWS, Hartford Courant)
From the National Climate Assessments Chapter on Human Health:
"The frequency of heavy precipitation events has already increased for the nation as a whole, and is projected to increase in all U.S. regions. Increases in both extreme precipitation and total precipitation have contributed to increases in severe flooding events in certain regions. Floods are the second deadliest of all weather-related hazards in the United States, accounting for approximately 98 deaths per year, most due to drowning. Flash floods and flooding associated with tropical storms result in the highest number of deaths.
... At the opposite end of precipitation extremes, drought also poses risks to public health and safety. Drought conditions may increase the environmental exposure to a broad set of health hazards including wildfires, dust storms, extreme heat events, flash flooding, degraded water quality, and reduced water quantity. Dust storms associated with drought conditions contribute to degraded air quality due to particulates and have been associated with increased incidence of Coccidioidomycosis (Valley fever), a fungal pathogen, in Arizona and California."