The environment affects children differently than adults. Because their bodies are still growing, children are at greater risk if they are exposed to environmental contaminants. Contaminants are anything that can cause something to become unclean, polluted, or not pure. They can be found anywhere and some are unsafe. A toddler playing in dirt contaminated with high levels of lead can become sick from lead poisoning. A child with asthma playing outside when the air quality is bad may have an asthma attack. Environmental hazards are not just outside, but can also be found inside a child's home or school. Children living in older homes with lead-based paint can get sick from breathing lead dust or swallowing chipping paint. Drinking water from a private well and even a community water system is also a concern if it's contaminated. Bacteria and other harmful chemicals can be a threat to anyone's health, but especially to young children.
Asthma (Tracking | Prevention)
Asthma is a chronic disease that affects the airways that carry oxygen in and out of the lungs. If a person has asthma, the inside of these airways is irritated and swollen. Asthma can cause shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, and tightness in the chest.
Cancer (Tracking | Prevention)
About 12,500 children and adolescents under the age of 20 years are diagnosed with cancer each year. Childhood cancers remain a leading cause of childhood deaths in the United States, despite the fact that advances in health care and treatment have dramatically increased survival from these cancers.
Lead (Tracking | Prevention)
Childhood lead poisoning is preventable. Before some uses of lead were restricted, approximately 88% of preschool children in the United States had lead levels high enough to cause serious health effects. With less lead in the environment, lead poisonings have decreased and become less severe.
Developmental Disabilities (Tracking | Prevention)
In the United States, about 1 in 6 children have a developmental disability. Developmental disabilities are a diverse group of severe chronic conditions that are due to mental and/or physical impairments. People with developmental disabilities have problems with major life activities such as language, movement, learning, self-help, and living by themselves.
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Tracking Hot Topics
- Birth Defects and the Environment
- Learn the Signs. Act Early.
- Female Breast Cancer and the Environment
- Children's Environmental Health Initiatives
- Tracking Children's Environmental Health
- CDC's Information for Parents
- View our Tracking Success Stories to learn how Tracking is making a difference across the U.S.