Post Content


Children are not little adults. When it comes to environmental contaminants, you can’t compare (little) apples to (big) apples.

Compared to adults, children face greater health risks from environmental exposures. Here’s why:

  • Children breathe more air, eat more food, and drink more water per pound of bodyweight than adults do.
  • Children have different behaviors. Crawling, exploring, teething, and putting things in their mouth will expose them to more contaminants.
  • Children are still developing. For example, the brain grows the fastest in the first 3 to 6 years, so the brain is at its most vulnerable then.
  • Environment-related health problems (e.g. cancer) can take years to develop. Children have more time in their life to develop health conditions than adults exposed later in life.
  • Children’s bodies may not be able to get rid of harmful contaminants that enter the body as well.

Environmental contaminants can be found inside or outside the home.

  • Breathing in polluted air outside can cause more hospital visits for children with asthma. About 12% of children (aged 5-14) in Massachusetts have asthma.
  • Children living in older homes with lead-based paint can get sick from breathing lead dust or swallowing paint chips containing lead.  About 70% of homes in Massachusetts were built before 1978 and may still have lead-based paint.

The Massachusetts Environmental Public Health Tracking Network has data on many children’s health issues affected by the environment:

  • Asthma
  • Childhood lead poisoning
  • Cancer
  • Developmental disabilities

Learn more at and

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