Post Content

The National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network (EPHT) is helping us understand more about the relationship between children’s health and the environment.  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.  For example children living in older homes with lead-based paint can get sick from breathing lead dust or swallowing chipping paint.

Key Facts

  • Children breathe more air, drink more water, and eat more food per pound of body weight than adults.
  • In Massachusetts 12.4 % of children ages 5-14 have asthma (School-based Pediatric Asthma Surveillance 2014).
  • About 12,500 children and adolescents under the age of 20 are diagnosed with cancer each year.
  • Childhood cancer is difficult to prevent because very little is known about what causes it. Childhood cancers, like adult cancers, may be the result of a mix of genetic, environmental, and behavioral causes, not just one factor by itself.
  • Children are more vulnerable to lead poisoning than adults. The first 6 years, particularly the first 3 years of life, is the time when the brain grows the fastest.  The normal behavior of children at this age—crawling, exploring, teething, putting objects in their mouths—may put them into contact with any lead that is present in their environment.
  • Lead poisoning can cause learning disabilities, behavioral problems, and at very high levels, seizures, coma, and even death.
  • No safe level of lead exposure has been identified.
  • Today at least 4 million households have children living in them that are being exposed to lead.

The Massachusetts Environmental Public Health Tracking Network has data on a variety of children’s health issues that can be affected by environmental factors -including asthma, cancer, childhood lead poisoning, and developmental disabilities.   Learn more at www.mass.gov/dph/matracking

Written By:


EPHT Program Manager and Epidemiologist in the Bureau of Environmental Health

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Recent Posts

Highlights of the January 15th Public Health Council Meeting posted on Jan 15

This month’s Public Health Council meeting featured a pair of informational updates from the Department on the status of proposed amendments to regulations, followed by a programmatic update from DPH program staff. First, the Council received an informational overview from the Bureau of Substance Addiction Services   …Continue Reading Highlights of the January 15th Public Health Council Meeting

Get to Know Your Community – Become a Volunteer posted on Jan 14

Get to Know Your Community – Become a Volunteer

This coming Monday we celebrate the MLK Day of Service, an initiative which urges people to view the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday as a “day on” rather than a day off – an opportunity to honor the legacy of Dr. King by encouraging us   …Continue Reading Get to Know Your Community – Become a Volunteer

As we head into 2020, it’s a good time to look back and take stock of what was a very busy 2019, working with our partners across Massachusetts to promote and protect the health and well-being of all our residents. Thank you to all of   …Continue Reading