Children's Health

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Protecting the health and future of our children is important to all Californians. In recognition of the fact that children are often differentially impacted by environmental contaminants, the Children’s Environmental Health Program was established in the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) by the Children’s Environmental Health Protection Act (Escutia, Chapter 731, Statutes of 1999). The program is responsible for ensuring that CalEPA’s existing expertise and programs specifically protect children’s health in California. The Children’s Environmental Health Program serves as a resource for CalEPA and the State of California, performs outreach and education for the medical and public health community as well as for the general public, and coordinates with the CalEPA boards and departments to promote policies and efforts that protect children’s health. 

Children can be more affected by environmental chemicals than adults. They eat, drink, and breathe more per pound of body weight than adults. Thus, children’s exposures to contaminants in our air, water, and food are higher than an adult in the same setting. Because children are still growing and developing, they can be more sensitive to the adverse health effects of chemicals than an adult. In some cases, the effects are irreversible. It is increasingly recognized that exposures early in life affect adult health. Thus, the work of the CalEPA Boards, Departments and Offices (BDOs) reducing children’s exposures to environmental chemicals benefits Californians throughout their lifetime. 

OEHHA efforts relating to children's health include:

Children's Health News

02/26/2015: A Story of Health - A Free eBook
A Story of Health was developed by ATSDR, the Collaborative on Health and the Environment (CHE), the University of California, San Francisco, Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (UCSF PEHSU), the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, California EPA (OEHHA), and the Science and Environmental Health Network (SEHN) to explain how environments interact with genes to influence health across the lifespan.
01/17/2013: 2013 Symposium on Cumulative Impacts and Children’s Environmental Health
In 2013 speakers from Children’s Environmental Health Research Centers, Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units on the West Coast and OEHHA gathered to discuss children’s exposure to chemicals, how the environment changes the development of the brain and nervous system in children and childhood leukemia.
01/10/2012: OEHHA and the Children's Environmental Health Program
CalEPA named OEHHA the lead entity to coordinate and manage the Children's Environmental Health Program, with activities to include conducting symposia and periodically preparing reports on children's health and environmental chemical issues, as well as supervising and training environmental medicine and pediatric residents to address environmental chemical issues.

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