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Your Environment. Your Health.

Children's Health


young boy at the doctor

President's Task Force on Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks to Children

Working together through the Task Force, the federal government seeks to understand environmental health impacts and help to ensure opportunities for the development of healthy children.

Children’s health includes the study of possible environmental causes of children’s illnesses and disorders, as well as the prevention and treatment of environmentally mediated diseases in children and infants. Children are highly vulnerable to the negative health consequences associated with many environmental exposures. Children receive proportionately larger doses of environmental toxicants than adults, and the fact that their organs and tissues are rapidly developing makes them particularly susceptible to chemical insults. Research in children’s health looks at the effects of air pollution on respiratory diseases such as allergies and asthma, the impact of lead, mercury, and other environmental contaminants on cognitive development and behavior, and the influence of prenatal and early life exposures on growth and development.

What is NIEHS Doing?

  • CHARGE: A Study to Understand the Causes of Autism and Other Developmental Disorders (662KB) UC Davis recently established a Center for Children’s Environmental Health. The centerpiece of this program is the CHARGE study! We hope to learn more about what causes autism and other developmental disorders.
  • Un Estudio Dedicado al Conocimiento de las Causas del Autismo y Otros Trastornos del Desarrollo (622KB)
  • listing of NIEHS Children's Health studies is a registry and results information database of clinical research studies sponsored or funded by a broad range of public and private organizations around the world.
  • A Human Health Perspective on Climate Change (Full Report) (4MB) A report outlining the research needs on the human health effects of climate change.
  • Centers for Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Since 1998, the NIEHS/EPA Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Centers have studied individual, regional, national, and global environmental exposures and the effects on children’s health.
  • Children's Environmental Health Supplements Supplemental funding to current NIEHS-funded research projects will allow for new interactive collaborations between clinical or epidemiological researchers and researchers with demonstrated expertise in the design and analysis of high dimensional molecular data sets such as genetic, epigenetic, proteomic, or microbiome experts to add or enhance molecular approaches to the existing research strategy of the project.
  • Children's Health Exposure Analysis Resource (CHEAR) Children’s health and wellbeing are influenced by interactions between environmental and genetic factors. NIEHS is establishing an infrastructure, the Children’s Health Exposure Analysis Resource (CHEAR), to provide the extramural research community access to laboratory and data analyses that add or expand the inclusion of environmental exposures in children’s health research.
  • Children's Health – Health Impacts Research NIEHS supports a broad range of research focusing on contaminants children may encounter, such as pesticides, arsenic, tobacco smoke, mercury, bisphenol A (BPA), and many others. Researchers supported by NIEHS investigate how being exposed to such contaminants in the womb or during childhood might contribute to developmental problems, childhood diseases, or the development of disease even years later.
  • Body Weight & Puberty Study Calling all healthy girls, 8-14 years old, who live in and around Raleigh, Durham, or Chapel Hill, North Carolina, to join this important study. We want to find out if body weight affects when a girl starts puberty.
  • EHP – Children's Health Featured articles on Children’s Health from Environmental Health Perspectives, a monthly peer-reviewed journal of research and news published with support from NIEHS.
  • Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) The Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) program will study how environmental factors affect child health and development via a new seven-year initiative from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). NIEHS is bringing extensive scientific expertise in children's environmental health to this effort.
  • Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves is a public-private partnership to save lives, improve livelihoods, empower women, and combat climate change by creating a thriving global market for clean and efficient household cooking solutions. The goal of the Alliance, which is sponsored by the United Nations Foundation, several U.S. government agencies, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), and other partners, is "100 by 20": a call for 100 million homes in the developing world to adopt clean and efficient stoves and fuels by 2020, with a long-term vision of universal adoption of clean and efficient cooking solutions.
  • Partnerships for Environmental Public Health (PEPH) PEPH is a network of scientists, community members, educators, healthcare providers, public health officials, and policymakers who share the goal of increasing the impact of environmental public health research at the local, regional, and national level.
  • Climate Change and Human Health The major public health organizations of the world have said that climate change is a critical public health problem.
  • 14th Edition of the Report on Carcinogens (854KB) A congressionally mandated, science-based, public health document that NTP prepares for the HHS Secretary. This cumulative report currently includes 248 listings of agents, substances, mixtures, and exposure circumstances that are known or reasonably anticipated to cause cancer in humans.

Further Reading

Stories from the Environmental Factor (NIEHS Newsletter)

Printable Fact Sheets

Additional Resources

  • A Watchful Eye on Farm Families' Health - CHAMACOS study shows that when pregnant women are exposed to pesticides or flame retardants, their kids may have health problems like wheezing or lower IQ. This is the eighth in a series of videos about sustainable agriculture and healthy eating. The series was produced in collaboration with the Global Food Initiative at the University of California.
  • Disease Prevention Toolkit - Taking steps to protect your health is the best way to prevent disease and other conditions. Health screenings, vaccines, and guarding yourself from germs and bugs can help keep you feeling your best.
  • ZIKA Care Connect (ZCC) - a searchable database of specialists available in several states, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. A CDC-developed and funded website which helps users locate specialty health care professionals who can provide clinical services for the management and care of patients with Zika. The website is hosted and maintained by the March of Dimes.

Related Health Topics

For Educators

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