Environmental Pollutants Harming Canadian Children’s Health
Technology, while producing advances in how we live, can have harmful affects on our health. Taking simple steps such as air filters in the bedroom and drinking only filtered water can help reduce our exposure to the side effects of technology.
(article) Canadian children’s chronic, low-level exposure to pollutants in food, water and air may be responsible for a sharp rise in childhood cancers, asthma and behavioral problems, according to a recent report released here. The report states that the fourfold increase in childhood asthma during the past 2 decades and the rise in allergies and respiratory problems may be attributed to poor indoor and outdoor air quality. Indoor air is of particular concern since Canadian children spend more than 90% of their time inside, where concentrations of pollutants such as insulation and cleaning agents can be up to 100 times higher than outdoors, Dr. Chance noted. The 25% increase in the rate of childhood cancers in the past 25 years is at least in part due to exposure to environmental contaminants, according to the report. In particular, there has been a dramatic rise in certain types of cancer, including acute lymphocytic leukemia, tumors of the central nervous system and bone tumors. The report also says that the large increase in hyperactivity disorder and other learning disabilities among children may be in part due to pollutants such as lead, polychlorinated biphenyls, mercury and dioxins, which can reduce intelligence and slow central nervous system development in fetuses. While standards exist for many environmental contaminants, they are based on testing done in adults and do not necessarily reflect children’s vulnerability to pollution, according to the report. In particular, infants and toddlers can be more vulnerable to environmental contaminants, since relative to their weight, they eat more food, drink more water and breathe more air and are more likely to play outside.