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

WIC: A Vital Resource for Massachusetts Families During COVID-19 posted on Oct 1

During COVID-19, many families are worried about having enough food at home.  Promoting programs that help improve food security has been essential during the pandemic.  One of these programs, administered by the Department of Public Health, is the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants,   …Continue Reading WIC: A Vital Resource for Massachusetts Families During COVID-19

Learn How You Can Help Prevent Suicide posted on Sep 21

Learn How You Can Help Prevent Suicide

For many people, the COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to feelings of uncertainty, fear, stress, and anxiety which can take a toll on mental health. It is important, particularly in uncertain times, to prioritize conversations around mental health, including suicide. September is Suicide Prevention Awareness   …Continue Reading Learn How You Can Help Prevent Suicide

Highlights of the September 17 Public Health Council Meeting posted on Sep 17

The September monthly meeting of the Public Health Council, which took place via teleconference in light of ongoing restrictions on public gatherings, featured two informational presentations from Department subject matter experts: Update from the Massachusetts WIC Program Update on Flu Immunization Activities in Massachusetts The   …Continue Reading Highlights of the September 17 Public Health Council Meeting