Research Studies

Air Pollution

Air Pollution

Pollutants in the air we breathe can be bad for our health. Babies in the womb and young children are especially vulnerable as their bodies are growing and developing. Urban air in particular can often be more polluted than air in the surrounding regions. Street traffic is denser in cities. Industry, bus depots, and sewage […]

Bisphenol-A (BPA)

Bisphenol-A (BPA)

Bisphenol-A (BPA) is one of the highest volume chemicals produced worldwide. It is used to harden plastics, keep bacteria from growing in foods, and prevent cans from rusting. It is found in products we use every day: baby bottles, water bottles, food storage containers, the lining of canned goods and cash register receipts. (BPA is […]

Lead

Lead

Lead poisoning remains the most common environmental hazard for children throughout the United States, affecting approximately 240,000 children ages six years and younger. Lead is a metal found in the environment that can be neurotoxic and carcinogenic to humans. It is inhaled or ingested and carried throughout the body in the bloodstream. All organ systems […]

Mercury

Mercury

Mercury is a metal that is found in air, water, and soil. Mercury does not break down in the environment and is toxic to humans, building up in our bodies over long periods of time. Mercury exists naturally in several forms. The most common organic mercury compound is known technically as methylmercury. Methylmercury is of […]

Mold

Mold

Exposure to molds can be harmful to your health — especially in children, whose defense systems are only partially formed. Our bodies come in contact with mold in three ways: by breathing mold spores that become airborne; by eating mold in food; and by touching mold on surfaces. Over 200 different types of indoor molds […]

Naphthalene

Naphthalene

Naphthalene is a type of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) and possible carcinogen. It is found abundantly in outdoor air with traffic being the largest source. Elevated levels of naphthalene are also found in indoor air when mothballs or kitchen stoves burning biomass fuels are used. Naphthalene is derived from petroleum and biofuel products and is […]

Pest and Pet Allergens

Pest and Pet Allergens

Exposure to pest allergens from cockroaches, dust mites, and rodents can cause serious allergic and asthmatic reactions. Children are particularly susceptible. Exposure to these allergens at a young age—even in the womb—can increase babies’ and children’s risk of developing asthma, respiratory symptoms such as wheezing and coughing, eczema, and allergies. For that reason, it is […]

Pesticides

Pesticides

Pesticides are chemicals that avert or destroy unwanted pests such as insects, rodents, and fungi. Since pesticides are designed to harm or kill living things, it is not surprising that they can harm humans, too. Babies and children are more vulnerable than adults to pesticides because their bodies are developing; their defenses against toxicants are […]

Phthalates

Phthalates

Phthalates are a group of chemicals used to soften plastics in many consumer products, including children’s toys and plastic containers. Some phthalates are found as contaminants in our food and others enter the home as part of plastic consumer and household products, including children’s toys and vinyl flooring tiles. They can also be found in […]

Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs)

Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs)

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are widely used flame-retardant compounds that are applied to a broad array of textiles and consumer products, including mattresses, upholstery, carpeting, building materials, and electronic equipment. Because the compounds are additive rather than chemically bound to the products, they can be released into the environment. They are persistent organic chemicals and […]

Secondhand Smoke

Secondhand Smoke

It has been well documented that exposure to secondhand smoke is extremely unhealthful. Secondhand smoke gets into the air when tobacco products are burned in cigarettes, cigars, and pipes. Secondhand smoke — also known as environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) — contains thousands of toxic chemicals, many of which are known to cause cancer. A U.S. […]

Asthma

Asthma

Asthma is a chronic disease of the airways that causes difficulty breathing, and occurs most commonly in people who become sensitized to certain allergens in our environment.  People with asthma react to different triggers. Common triggers include air pollution, diesel exhaust particles, viruses, environmental tobacco smoke, cockroach particles, dust mites, cat or dog dander, outdoor […]

Cancer

Cancer

Cancer is the leading cause of death from disease in children in the United States, with more than 12,000 new cases diagnosed each year. The disease develops from multiple factors, some unknown, including environmental pollutants, genes, nutrition, immunologic and socioeconomic factors. We don’t know exactly how cancers develop; for example, scientists and physicians do not know […]

Epigenetic Mechanisms

DNA plays a central role in determining health outcomes, but as our understanding of genetic science improves, so too does our understanding of what makes us who we are as children and as adults. We now know that a child’s health outcomes are dependent on a combination of genes and the environment, as genetics alone […]

Obesity

Obesity

The U.S. has seen child obesity rates rise significantly over the last two decades, with low-income and racial/ethnic minority children particularly affected. Even at very young ages, many inner-city children show elevated rates of overweight and obesity. Data from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES) for 2003-2004 indicate that the national prevalence of […]

Neurodevelopment

Neurodevelopment

The scientific problem of preventing childhood disease is both urgent and challenging, as the rates of neurodevelopmental disorders have increased in recent decades. The developing fetus is especially susceptible to environmental pollutants as detoxification enzymes are functioning at a very low level and biological systems are forming — their development being programmed for a lifetime […]

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