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Can J Public Health. 1998 May-Jun;89 Suppl 1:S9-13, S10-5.

Children are different: environmental contaminants and children's health.

[Article in English, French]

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  • 1University of Western Ontario, Canadian Institute of Child Health, Ottawa.


Although the impact of environmental contaminants on human health has been widely studied, few reports in the Canadian literature have focussed on the specific vulnerability of children. Because of their rapid growth, physiologic and metabolic immaturity, the fetus and child are often at increased risk from toxic substances in their environments. Furthermore, greater air, food and fluid intakes relative to body weight compared with the adult, increase the child's potential for excessive exposures. The crawling stage of infancy, the play patterns and short stature of toddlers also serve to increase their exposure to dust and heavy and volatile substances which accumulate near the floor. This article provides an overview of some of the developmental physiologic, anatomic and behavioural features of the fetus, infant and child which increase their vulnerability to environmental contaminants in comparison with adults. Specific examples are given.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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