Children's Environmental Health

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Children's Environmental Health


Children are uniquely vulnerable to environmental contaminants, from increasing air pollution to the effects of climate change. In addition, children face disproportionate exposure to environmental factors that negatively affect health; they breathe faster than adults, spend more time outside and have lungs that are still developing.

Pediatricians know that a safe and healthy environment is a basic foundation of child health. That is why the AAP is undertaking federal advocacy efforts to ensure children are safe where they live, learn and play. 

Additional resource:

  • The AAP Council on Environmental Health website

Protecting Children from Climate Change

There is broad scientific consensus that the Earth's climate is warming rapidly and at an accelerated rate. According to the World Health Organization, more than 80 percent of the current health burden due to changing climate occurs in children younger than five years old. As climate change accelerates, children will continue to suffer disproportionately.

  • For more information on climate change and the Academy's federal advocacy efforts, please visit this webpage

Ensuring Children Can Breathe Clean Air

More than 40 years ago, Congress passed the Clean Air Act, giving the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the authority to regulate air pollution. Although there have been significant improvements made to protect children's health in the decades since the law’s passage, children are still suffering and the Academy is further federal action to ensure the air children breathe is safe and clean.

  •  For more information on the Academy's work at the federal level to ensure children can breathe clean air, please visit this webpage

Addit​ional Resources

  • A joint op-ed by AAP President Sandra G. Hassink, MD, FAAP, and President and CEO of the American Lung Association Harold Wimmer, "The right to breathe: Why we need clean air for our children"
  • AAP Voices blog post, "Why do pediatricians care about climate change?" by Samanthan Adhoot, member of the AAP Council on Environmental Health
  • An op-ed published in The Houston Chronicle by Susan Pacheco, MD, FAAP, AAP Council on Environmental Health member
  • An op-ed by pediatric resident Jamie Zakkak, MD, and Jennifer Kaufer, Healthy Air Coalition Coordinator for the American Lung Association in Virginia, "Fairfax County's children deserve to breathe clean air"
  • AAP Policy Statement and Technical Report, "Global Climate Change and Children's Health"
  • Blog post published in The Hill by Dr. Ahdoot
  • AAP News Washington column, "AAP takes on climate change from a public health perspective"

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