There are many reasons why children are more likely to develop diseases caused by negative environmental influences. Their body grows and develops, they have a higher level of development of new cells, less developed metabolism and a relatively high level of contact with harmful substances. Children who live in urban environments are more likely to develop such diseases due to frequent contact with pollutants, allergens, cigarette smoke, pesticides, lead and other toxins.
According to the research, children can develop such diseases as:
- Asthma. Over the past 15 years, the number of children with asthma has doubled. To date, more than 5 million children under the age of eighteen suffer from this disease. Every year the cause of every sixth urgent visit to a pediatrician is asthma, because of her students miss more than 10 million days of study.
- Cancer. Each year the number of cancers increases by 1-2%.
- Low birth weight and heart disease. Since the mid-1980s, the number of babies born with low body weight has increased annually, and the number of newborns with serious heart disease has doubled.
- Developmental disability. About 17% of US children have developmental disabilities.
Factors that affect children’s health include:
- Air pollution. In New York, where schools heat mainly coal, and the number of diesel buses is the highest in any other city, the largest number of children with asthma live in the Harlem area. Six terminals of city diesel buses are in Harlem, and five of them near educational institutions. Since the diesel engine needs to be heated for a long time, the buses work idle in the garage, and the ventilation system exhausts the exhaust gases to the outside. Other factors can also cause such high rates, but the main cause is the exhaust fumes in the area.
- Lead. According to the Center for Disease Control, every twentieth child in the United States has an elevated level of lead in the blood, which can lead to disruption in development. The main source of lead is paint, dust, toy ornaments and some imported toys. In 2007, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission survey showed that many imported toys and children’s jewelry contain a high level of lead.
- Pesticides. Every year in the US use more than two billion kilograms of pesticides. According to the US Food and Drug Administration, about 33-39% of foodstuffs contain pesticide residues. In many training areas, these chemicals are used, for example, in California, 93% of the 46 school districts use 73 different pesticides. Seventy percent of school districts use substances that can cause cancer, and 54% of these substances are classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as toxic and harmful to the nervous system. Pesticides can also be found in drinking water.
Find out how many toxins your home and child’s school contain
Parents may be concerned that their child is exposed to toxins at home and at school. If you believe that there is a risk of developing a disease caused by the negative impact of the environment, your child, discuss with the pediatrician the following questions:
- In what state is your house? Is there any peeling of zinc-based paint or mold appeared due to a faulty drainage system?
- Do you do repairs? It can cause the effect of paint based on zinc or other toxic substances.
- How do you heat the house? Is the heating system adequately ventilated? Do you use fireplaces and wood stoves? Do you use a gas stove?
- Are there carbon monoxide and smoke sensors in the house?
- Do you use pesticides in or near your home?
- Do you use glues, paints, solvents or other chemicals?
- Is it possible that you bring toxic substances from work on your clothing?
- Is your child’s school being renovated at school? Do your children have symptoms that worsen during their stay in school?
- Do you live near an industrial plant or a hazardous waste storage facility? Did you have any chemical emissions in your area?
- Do you smoke in the house, car or anywhere in the presence of children? Do other members of your family smoke?