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Mt Sinai J Med. 2010 Mar-Apr;77(2):178-87. doi: 10.1002/msj.20173.

Environmental justice and the health of children.

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  • 1Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY. USA.


Environmental injustice is the inequitable and disproportionately heavy exposure of poor, minority, and disenfranchised populations to toxic chemicals and other environmental hazards. Environmental injustice contributes to disparities in health status across populations of differing ethnicity, race, and socioeconomic status. Infants and children, because of their unique biological vulnerabilities and age-related patterns of exposure, are especially vulnerable to the health impacts of environmental injustice. These impacts are illustrated by sharp disparities across children of different racial and ethnic backgrounds in the prevalence of 3 common diseases caused in part by environmental factors: asthma, lead poisoning, and obesity. Documentation of linkages between health disparities and environmental injustice is an important step toward achieving environmental justice.

(c) 2010 Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

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