Tag Archives: Toxic

Virginia Tech study: Common household chemicals lead to birth defects in mice, research finds

18 Jun

Moi wrote in Common household chemicals link to drop in child IQ:

The goal of this society should be to raise healthy and happy children who will grow into concerned and involved adults who care about their fellow citizens and environment. Science Daily reported in Prenatal exposure to common household chemicals linked with substantial drop in child IQ:
Children exposed during pregnancy to elevated levels of two common chemicals found in the home–di-n-butyl phthalate (DnBP) and di-isobutyl phthalate (DiBP)–had an IQ score, on average, more than six points lower than children exposed at lower levels, according to researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. The study is the first to report a link between prenatal exposure to phthalates and IQ in school-age children. Results appear online in the journal PLOS ONE.
DnBP and DiBP are found in a wide variety of consumer products, from dryer sheets to vinyl fabrics to personal care products like lipstick, hairspray, and nail polish, even some soaps. Since 2009, several phthalates have been banned from children’s toys and other childcare articles in the United States. However, no steps have been taken to protect the developing fetus by alerting pregnant women to potential exposures. In the U.S., phthalates are rarely listed as ingredients on products in which they are used.
Researchers followed 328 New York City women and their children from low-income communities. They assessed the women’s exposure to four phthalates–DnBP, DiBP, di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate, and diethyl phthalate–in the third trimester of pregnancy by measuring levels of the chemicals’ metabolites in urine. Children were given IQ tests at age 7.
Children of mothers exposed during pregnancy to the highest 25 percent of concentrations of DnBP and DiBP had IQs 6.6 and 7.6 points lower, respectively, than children of mothers exposed to the lowest 25 percent of concentrations after controlling for factors like maternal IQ, maternal education, and quality of the home environment that are known to influence child IQ scores. The association was also seen for specific aspects of IQ, such as perceptual reasoning, working memory, and processing speed. The researchers found no associations between the other two phthalates and child IQ.
The range of phthalate metabolite exposures measured in the mothers was not unusual: it was within what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention observed in a national sample.
“Pregnant women across the United States are exposed to phthalates almost daily, many at levels similar to those that we found were associated with substantial reductions in the IQ of children,” says lead author Pam Factor-Litvak, PhD, associate professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School.
“The magnitude of these IQ differences is troubling,” says senior author Robin Whyatt, DrPH, Professor of Environmental Health Sciences and deputy director of the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health at the Mailman School. “A six- or seven-point decline in IQ may have substantial consequences for academic achievement and occupational potential.”
PSYBLOG lists common household items in 8 Household Items Newly Found to Lower Children’s IQ Significantly:
Avoiding phthalates
While it is impossible to avoid phthalates completely, they are found in these common products, amongst others:
• Hairspray.
• Plastic containers used for microwaving food.
• Lipstick.
• Air fresheners.
• Dryer sheets.
• Nail polish.
• Some soaps.
• Recycled plastics labelled 3,6 or 7.
http://www.spring.org.uk/2014/12/8-household-items-newly-found-to-lower-childrens-iq-significantly.php:

A Virginia Tech study involving mice is confirming this study.

Science Daily reported in Common household chemicals lead to birth defects in mice, research finds:

A new study at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) and the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech has found a connection between common household chemicals and birth defects.
Known as quaternary ammonium compounds or “quats,” the chemicals are often used as disinfectants and preservatives in household and personal products such as cleaners, laundry detergent, fabric softener, shampoo and conditioner, and eye drops. The research demonstrated a link between quats and neural tube birth defects in both mice and rats.
“These chemicals are regularly used in the home, hospital, public spaces, and swimming pools,” said Terry Hrubec, associate professor of anatomy at the VCOM-Virginia campus and research assistant professor in the veterinary college’s Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology. “Most people are exposed on a regular basis.”
Hrubec investigated the effect of two commonly used quats: alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride and didecyl dimethyl ammonium chloride. These are often listed on ingredient lists as ADBAC and DDAC, respectively, and are valued for their antimicrobial and antistatic properties, as well as their ability to lower surface tension. Hrubec found that exposure to these chemicals resulted in neural tube birth defects — the same birth defect as spina bifida and anencephaly in humans.
“Birth defects were seen when both males and females were exposed, as well as when only one parent was exposed,” said Hrubec, who is first author on the study and holds both a doctor of veterinary medicine degree and Ph.D. from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. “The fact that birth defects could be seen when only the father was exposed means that we need to expand our scope of prenatal care to include the father.”
Hrubec found that mice and rats did not even need to be dosed with the chemicals to see the effect. Her research shows that simply using quat-based cleaners in the same room as the mice was enough to cause birth defects. “We also observed increased birth defects in rodents for two generations after stopping exposure,” Hrubec added…..https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170617073635.htm

Citation:

ommon household chemicals lead to birth defects in mice, research finds
Date: June 17, 2017
Source: Virginia Tech
Summary:
A connection between common household chemicals and birth defects has been uncovered by new research.

Journal Reference:
1. Terry C. Hrubec, Vanessa E. Melin, Caroline S. Shea, Elizabeth E. Ferguson, Craig Garofola, Claire M. Repine, Tyler W. Chapman, Hiral R. Patel, Reza M. Razvi, Jesse E. Sugrue, Haritha Potineni, Geraldine Magnin-Bissel, Patricia A. Hunt. Ambient and dosed exposure to quaternary ammonium disinfectants causes neural tube defects in rodents. Birth Defects Research, 2017; DOI: 10.1002/bdr2.1064

Here is the press release from Virginia Tech:

Public Release: 16-Jun-2017
Research finds common household chemicals lead to birth defects in mice
A new study at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) and the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech has found a connection between common household chemicals and birth defects.
A new study at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) and the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech has found a connection between common household chemicals and birth defects.
Known as quaternary ammonium compounds or “quats,” the chemicals are often used as disinfectants and preservatives in household and personal products such as cleaners, laundry detergent, fabric softener, shampoo and conditioner, and eye drops. The research demonstrated a link between quats and neural tube birth defects in both mice and rats.
“These chemicals are regularly used in the home, hospital, public spaces, and swimming pools,” said Terry Hrubec, associate professor of anatomy at the VCOM-Virginia campus and research assistant professor in the veterinary college’s Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology. “Most people are exposed on a regular basis.”
Hrubec investigated the effect of two commonly used quats: alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride and didecyl dimethyl ammonium chloride. These are often listed on ingredient lists as ADBAC and DDAC, respectively, and are valued for their antimicrobial and antistatic properties, as well as their ability to lower surface tension. Hrubec found that exposure to these chemicals resulted in neural tube birth defects — the same birth defect as spina bifida and anencephaly in humans.
“Birth defects were seen when both males and females were exposed, as well as when only one parent was exposed,” said Hrubec, who is first author on the study and holds both a doctor of veterinary medicine degree and Ph.D. from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. “The fact that birth defects could be seen when only the father was exposed means that we need to expand our scope of prenatal care to include the father.”
Hrubec found that mice and rats did not even need to be dosed with the chemicals to see the effect. Her research shows that simply using quat-based cleaners in the same room as the mice was enough to cause birth defects. “We also observed increased birth defects in rodents for two generations after stopping exposure,” Hrubec added.
An earlier study in Hrubec’s laboratory found that these chemicals led to reproductive declines in mice. Follow-up research found that quats were decreasing sperm counts in males and ovulation in females. The research raises the possibility of quats contributing to human infertility, which has been on the rise in recent decades.
“We are asked all of the time, ‘You see your results in mice. How do you know that it’s toxic in humans?'” Hrubec said. “Our research on mice and rats shows that these chemicals affect the embryonic development of these animals. Since rodent research is the gold standard in the biomedical sciences, this raises a big red flag that these chemicals may be toxic to humans as well.”
Quaternary ammonium compounds were introduced in the 1950s and 1960s before the standardization of toxicity studies. Chemical manufacturers conducted some toxicity studies on the compounds during this period, but they were never published. Today, the chemicals are regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Hrubec noted that an epidemiological study could determine whether people who have a high rate of exposure, such as healthcare workers or restaurant servers, have a more difficult time becoming pregnant or have a greater likelihood of having children with neural tube birth defects, but no such study has been conducted to date.
###
In addition to VCOM and the veterinary college, the study received funding from the Passport Foundation, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that sponsors research on product safety.
The paper, “Ambient and Dosed Exposure to Quaternary Ammonium Disinfectants Causes Neural Tube Defects in Rodents,” was published in the June 15 issue of Birth Defects Research and is available online.
Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

Saundra Young of CNN wrote about toxic chemicals in ‘Putting the next generation of brains in danger.’

According to Young there are several types of chemicals which pose a danger:
The best example of this, he said, is cosmetics and phthalates. Phthalates are a group of chemicals used in hundreds of products from cosmetics, perfume, hair spray, soap and shampoos to plastic and vinyl toys, shower curtains, miniblinds, food containers and plastic wrap.
You can also find them in plastic plumbing pipes, medical tubing and fluid bags, vinyl flooring and other building materials. They are used to soften and increase the flexibility of plastic and vinyl.
In Europe, cosmetics don’t contain phthalates, but here in the United States some do.
Phthalates previously were used in pacifiers, soft rattles and teethers. But in 1999, after a push from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, American companies stopped using them in those products.
“We certainly have the capability, it’s a matter of political will,” Landrigan said. “We have tried in this country over the last decade to pass chemical safety legislation but the chemical industry and their supporters have successfully beat back the effort.”
However, the Food and Drug Administration said two of the most common phthalates, — dibutylphthalate, or DBP, used as a plasticizer in products such as nail polishes to reduce cracking by making them less brittle, and dimethylphthalate, or DMP used in hairsprays — are now rarely used in this country.
Diethylphthalate, or DEP, used in fragrances, is the only phthalate still used in cosmetics, the FDA said.
“It’s not clear what effect, if any, phthalates have on human health,” according to the FDA’s website. “An expert panel convened from 1998 to 2000 by the National Toxicology Program (NTP), part of the National Institute for Environmental Safety and Health, concluded that reproductive risks from exposure to phthalates were minimal to negligible in most cases….” http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/14/health/chemicals-children-brains/

See, Helping to protect children from the harmful effects of chemicals http://www.who.int/ipcs/highlights/children_chemicals/en/

Children will have the most success in school, if they are ready to learn. Ready to learn includes proper nutrition for a healthy body and the optimum situation for children is a healthy family. Many of societies’ problems would be lessened if the goal was a healthy child in a healthy family.

Our goal as a society should be a healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood. ©

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

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Wayne State University study: Lead exposure in mothers can affect future generations

4 Oct

The increased rate of poverty has profound implications if this society believes that ALL children have the right to a good basic education. Moi blogs about education issues so the reader could be perplexed sometimes because moi often writes about other things like nutrition, families, and personal responsibility issues. Why? The reader might ask? Because children will have the most success in school if they are ready to learn. Ready to learn includes proper nutrition for a healthy body and the optimum situation for children is a healthy family. Many of societies’ problems would be lessened if the goal was a healthy child in a healthy family. There is a lot of economic stress in the country now because of unemployment and underemployment. Children feel the stress of their parents and they worry about how stable their family and living situation is. Sabrina Tavernise wrote an excellent New York Times article, Education Gap Grows Between Rich and Poor, Studies Say http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/10/education/education-gap-grows-between-rich-and-poor-studies-show.html?emc=eta1 The Centers for Disease Control report:

Today at least 4 million households have children living in them that are being exposed to high levels of lead. There are approximately half a million U.S. children ages 1-5 with blood lead levels above 5 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL), the reference level at which CDC recommends public health actions be initiated.
No safe blood lead level in children has been identified. Lead exposure can affect nearly every system in the body. Because lead exposure often occurs with no obvious symptoms, it frequently goes unrecognized. CDC’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program is committed to the Healthy People 2020 goals of eliminating blood lead levels ≥ 10 µg/dL and differences in average risk based on race and social class as public health concerns. The program is part of the National Center for Environmental Health’s Division of Emergency and Environmental Health Services. http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/

A Wayne State University study finds that lead exposure may affect more than one generation.

Science Daily reported in Lead exposure in mothers can affect future generations:

A team of researchers at Wayne State University have discovered that mothers with high levels of lead in their blood not only affect the fetal cells of their unborn children, but also their grandchildren. Their study, Multigenerational epigenetic inheritance in humans: DNA methylation changes associated with maternal exposure to lead can be transmitted to the grandchildren, was published online this week in Scientific Reports.

It’s a known fact that babies in the womb can be affected by low levels of lead exposure. If a pregnant woman is exposed to lead, the lead passes through the placenta into the baby’s developing bones and other organs. Pregnant women with a past exposure to lead can also affect the unborn child’s brain, causing developmental problems later in life. Previous research studies have suggested that exposure to heavy metal toxicants can influence a person’s global DNA methylation profile….

According to Ruden, epigenetic effects of environmental exposures beyond one generation have not yet been demonstrated in humans prior to this study. He and his team tested the hypothesis that human fetal germ cell exposure to environmental toxins causes epigenetic changes in the newborn blood from a grandchild of an exposed pregnant woman.
“Our results suggest that lead exposure during pregnancy affects the DNA methylation status of the fetal germ cells, which leads to altered DNA methylation in grandchildren’s neonatal dried blood spots,” said Ruden. “This is the first demonstration that an environmental exposure in pregnant mothers can have an epigenetic effect on the DNA methylation pattern in the grandchildren.”

The research team stated that this novel, two-generational study design might be able to identify the genes that may serve as possible candidate biomarkers for future transgenerational risk assessment studies…. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/10/151002191739.htm?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook

Citation:

Lead exposure in mothers can affect future generations
Date: October 2, 2015

Source: Wayne State University – Office of the Vice President for Research

Summary:
Researchers have discovered that mothers with high levels of lead in their blood not only affect the fetal cells of their unborn children, but also their grandchildren.
Journal Reference:
1. Arko Sen, Nicole Heredia, Marie-Claude Senut, Susan Land, Kurt Hollocher, Xiangyi Lu, Mary O. Dereski, Douglas M. Ruden. Multigenerational epigenetic inheritance in humans: DNA methylation changes associated with maternal exposure to lead can be transmitted to the grandchildren. Scientific Reports, 2015; 5: 14466 DOI: 10.1038/srep14466

Here is the press release from Wayne State University:

Wayne State researchers discover evidence that lead exposure in mothers can affect future generations
October 2, 2015

DETROIT – A team of researchers at Wayne State University have discovered that mothers with high levels of lead in their blood not only affect the fetal cells of their unborn children, but also their grandchildren. Their study, Multigenerational epigenetic inheritance in humans: DNA methylation changes associated with maternal exposure to lead can be transmitted to the grandchildren, was published online this week in Scientific Reports.

It’s a known fact that babies in the womb can be affected by low levels of lead exposure. If a pregnant woman is exposed to lead, the lead passes through the placenta into the baby’s developing bones and other organs. Pregnant women with a past exposure to lead can also affect the unborn child’s brain, causing developmental problems later in life. Previous research studies have suggested that exposure to heavy metal toxicants can influence a person’s global DNA methylation profile.
In the recent Wayne State study led by Douglas Ruden, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and the Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, director of epigenomics, and program leader in the Center for Urban Responses to Environmental Stressors, he and his research team revealed that lead exposure can cause specific changes in DNA methylation, which can be detected in dried blood spots beyond one generation. The neonatal blood spots from both the mothers and children in this study were obtained from the Michigan Neonatal Biobank, a unique resource that has most of the neonatal dried blood spots from children born in Michigan since 1984.

According to Ruden, epigenetic effects of environmental exposures beyond one generation have not yet been demonstrated in humans prior to this study. He and his team tested the hypothesis that human fetal germ cell exposure to environmental toxins causes epigenetic changes in the newborn blood from a grandchild of an exposed pregnant woman.
“Our results suggest that lead exposure during pregnancy affects the DNA methylation status of the fetal germ cells, which leads to altered DNA methylation in grandchildren’s neonatal dried blood spots,” said Ruden. “This is the first demonstration that an environmental exposure in pregnant mothers can have an epigenetic effect on the DNA methylation pattern in the grandchildren.”

The research team stated that this novel, two-generational study design might be able to identify the genes that may serve as possible candidate biomarkers for future transgenerational risk assessment studies.
“Our pilot study provides indirect evidence that lead exposure in women during childbirth can affect the locus-specific DNA methylation status of grandchildren,” said Ruden. “However, the altered DNA methylation profiles of the grandchildren’s blood are apparently normalized during postnatal development. Also, fetal germline exposure to lead apparently has different epigenetic consequences than acute childhood exposure.”

This research was supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences of the National Institutes of Health (R01 ES012933 and R21 ES021893) to Dr. Ruden, the WSU-NIEHS Center (P30 ES020957), and a Michigan Bloodspot Environmental Epidemiology Project (BLEEP) pilot grant from the Michigan University Research Corridor to Dr. Ruden.

Contact: Julie O’Connor
Voice: (313) 577-8845
Email: julie.oconnor@wayne.edu
Fax: (313) 577-3626
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Michael Hawthorne of the Chicago Tribune wrote about lead poisoning.

In Lead poisoning still damaging kids in poor areas, Hawthorne wrote:

One researcher working in Chicago, Anne Evens, recently published a study that draws a sharper focus on how lead is still ravaging the city years after it faded as a local and national issue.
A former chief of lead poisoning prevention at the Chicago Department of Public Health, Evens obtained the lead tests of more than 58,000 children born in the city from 1994 to 1998 and compared the results with how they performed on standardized tests in third grade.

Her peer-reviewed study, published in April in the scientific journal Environmental Health, found that exposure to lead during early childhood significantly increased the chance that a student would fail reading and math tests, even when controlling for other factors such as poverty, race, birth weight and the mother’s education level.
The scope of what Evens found is staggering: At three-quarters of Chicago Public Schools, the average lead level of third-graders exceeded a standard established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in each year from 2003 to 2006….. http://www.abqjournal.com/598520/news/lead-poisoning-still-damaging-kids-in-poor-areas.html

A 2002 Journal of Public Health article, Housing and Health: Time Again for Public Health Action:

Poor housing conditions are associated with a wide range of health conditions, including respiratory infections, asthma, lead poisoning, injuries, and mental health. Addressing housing issues offers public health practitioners an opportunity to address an important social determinant of health. Public health has long been involved in housing issues. In the 19th century, health officials targeted poor sanitation, crowding, and inadequate ventilation to reduce infectious diseases as well as fire hazards to decrease injuries. Today, public health departments can employ multiple strategies to improve housing, such as developing and enforcing housing guidelines and codes, implementing “Healthy Homes” programs to improve indoor environmental quality, assessing housing conditions, and advocating for healthy, affordable housing. Now is the time for public health to create healthier homes by confronting substandard housing…. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1447157/

Substandard housing has been identified as a cause of health issues for decades. The issue is what can or will be done to address the issue.

Related:

Unequal exposures: People in poor, non-white neighborhoods breathe more hazardous particles http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/news/2012/unequal-exposures

Lead Poisoning                                                                                                                                              http://kids.niehs.nih.gov/explore/pollute/lead.htm

Learn about Lead                                                                                                                                                  http://www2.epa.gov/lead/learn-about-lead

Poor Neighborhoods’ Influence On Parents May Raise Preschool Children’s Risk Of Problems                                http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080207085613.htm

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Dr. Wilda.com

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Toxic dangers in schools

8 Jul

Moi blogs about education issues so the reader could be perplexed sometimes because moi often writes about other things like nutrition, families, and personal responsibility issues. Why? The reader might ask? Because children will have the most success in school if they are ready to learn. Ready to learn includes proper nutrition for a healthy body and the optimum situation for children is a healthy family. Many of societies’ problems would be lessened if the goal was a healthy child in a healthy family. Environmental Lawyers.Com describes the types of environmental risks in schools in the article, Environmental Hazards at School:

An environmental hazard is a chemical or pollutant in the environment that causes you to become ill or injured. While American’s have become more conscious of hazardous material in the environment as a result of the rise in environmental litigation, plenty of environmental hazards still exist.

Types of Environmental Hazards in Schools

In 1954, the school board in Niagara Falls New York built a school on top of 21,000 tons of toxic waste. The school boards knew about the toxic waste, and choose to build the 99th Street School anyway. This school was part of the Love Canal Disaster, and students began coming down with illnesses including asthma, epilepsy, and even leukemia.

While Love Canal was a long time ago, potential environmental hazards still exist in schools today. Many of these hazards result from improper retrofitting of school buildings, and could potentially give rise to environmental litigation if students develop health problems as a result of exposure to contaminants.

Lead Paint Exposure: Some older buildings, including schools, still have lead paint. Exposure to lead paint can lead to learning disabilities and other problems, especially in children.

Contaminated Water: Schools that have lingering lead paint may also have older lead arsenic pipes. The lead in these pipes can lead to contaminants in the drinking water. While most schools test water periodically, it may be a good idea to send your child with bottled water to avoid lead effects.

Toxic Mold: Like lead paint, toxic mold and mold poisoning is a problem that plagues older buildings. Mold exposure can cause mold symptoms ranging from asthma to a severe lung infection that makes breathing difficult.

Asbestos: Prior to the 1970’s, asbestos was widely used in insulation and building tiles. Removal of asbestos is dangerous and expensive, and as a result there is still asbestos present in many schools. The EPA does not mandate that schools removal all asbestos, but does require schools with asbestos material to have periodic inspections and file regular reports on the results.

Pesticides: Pesticides are used on the lawns and grounds of schools. Children may be more susceptible to injury from exposure to pesticides, since their brains are still developing.

Air Pollution: Tightly sealed schools without proper ventilation can also create situations where children are exposed to airborne hazards. The EPA has provided an Indoor Air Quality Kit for schools designed to help schools test the air quality and ensure it is safe for kids to breathe.

Environmental Justice and Hazards in Schools

Some evidence suggests that economically disadvantaged neighborhoods tend to be more adversely affected by environmental hazards. School buildings in lower income neighborhoods tend to be older, and there may be less money for construction and updating the building. As a result, there may be more environmental contaminants and hazards present.

The EPA recognizes this disproportionate impact, and Environmental Justice Groups are working to help correct the inequalities. http://www.environmentallawyers.com/regulations/school-health-hazards.htm

The Healthy Schools Coalition advocates for healthier and safer environments in schools.

The position paper of the Healthy Schools Coalition describes the following environmental issues:

Coalition for Healthier Schools

Position Statement and Policy Recommendations

providing the platform and the forum for school environmental health…since

School factors affecting health

Many school environmental factors can affect the health of children and employees. Too many schools are sited near industrial plants or toxic waste sites; some are sited on abandoned landfills. Many school facilities are poorly maintained. Schools are more densely occupied and more intensively used than office buildings, magnifying problems. Thousands of schools are severely overcrowded, which compromises ventilation systems, acoustics, food service, recess, and sanitation and lavatories. Children also spend extra hours in vehicles or buses when their schools are beyond safe walking and biking distances.

The U.S. EPA has estimated that up to half of all schools have problems with indoor environmental quality. Children and staff are all affected by:

polluted indoor air and outdoor air

toxic chemical and pesticide uses; chemical spills

mold infestations

asbestos, radon

lead in paint and drinking water

inadequate chemical management

poor siting, design, engineering

hazardous materials purchased and stored onsite

heavy metals and other toxics, such as mercury, CCA, PCBs

Results of unhealthy schools:

60% of all children suffer health and learning problems due solely to the conditions of their schools.

child and staff health problems and absenteeism

asthma, allergies, headaches, fatigue, nausea, rashes and chronic illnesses

Sick Building Syndrome/Building Related Illness

more medication use by children and staff

learning and behavior difficulties that worsen

greater liability for school districts

lower achievement,

And, reduced revenues due to poor attendance.

Asthma is the leading cause of absenteeism from chronic illness. Asthma is also a leading work-related disease of teachers and custodians—they get it on the job.

Coalition Position

When the nation is committed to raising academic performance and honoring each child’s potential, and to improving the environment of every neighborhood, we have a moral obligation to protect all children and to accommodate children and personnel who already have impairments. To promote child and adult health, improve education, and create healthier communities, all schools should:

adopt high performance design and siting standards

promote and sustain quality indoor air

use safer cleaning and maintenance products

use non-toxic products for instruction

use integrated pest control and weed control

provide quality lighting, including daylighting

provide good acoustics and noise control

select durable, easy-to-clean flooring

offer wholesome food and exercise opportunities

provide safe spaces for outdoor activities

build or retrofit facilities for energy and other resource efficiencies

remediate lead, CCA, PCBs, mold infestations, and clean out old chemicals.

http://www.healthyschools.org/CHS_PosStatement.pdf

Tim Walker and Cindy Long report in NEA Today:

An estimated 14 million American children attend public schools that are in urgent need of  extensive repair or replacement and have unhealthy environmental conditions, including poor air quality, unsafe drinking water and inadequate safety systems. http://neatoday.org/2012/01/10/cnn-indoor-air-quality/

The Agency for Toxic Effects and Disease Registry (ATEDR) has some good information about the effects of toxins on children.

In Principles of Pediatric Environmental Health: What Are Special Considerations Regarding Toxic Exposures to Young and School-age Children, as Well as Adolescents? ATEDR reports:

Young Child (2 to 6 years old)

With the newly acquired ability to run, climb, ride tricycles, and perform other mobile and exploratory activities, the young child’s environment expands, as does the risk of exposure.

Many of a young child’s toxic exposures may occur from ingestion. If the child’s diet is deficient in iron or calcium, the small intestine avidly absorbs lead….

School-aged Children (6 to 12 years old)

School-aged children spend increasingly greater amounts of time in outdoor, school, and after-school environments. They may be exposed to outdoor air pollution, including

  • widespread air pollutants,
  • ozone, particulates, and
  • nitrogen and sulfur oxides.

These result primarily from fossil fuel combustion. Although these pollutants concentrate in urban and industrial areas, they are windborne and distribute widely. Local pockets of intense exposure may result from toxic air and soil pollutants emanating from hazardous waste sites, leaking underground storage tanks, or local industry. One example of a localized toxic exposure adverse effect was seen in children exposed to high doses of lead released into the air from a lead smelter in Idaho. When tested 15 to 20 years later, these children showed reduced neurobehavioral and peripheral nerve function [ATSDR 1997b]….

In addition, some school age children engage in activity such as

  • lawn care,
  • yard work, and
  • trash pickup.

These and other work situations may put them at risk for exposures to hazardous substances such as pesticides used to treat lawns.

Adolescents (12 to 18 years old)

But nothing more than just adolescent behavior may result in toxic exposures. Risk-taking behaviors of adolescents may include exploring off-limit industrial waste sites or abandoned buildings. For example, in one reported case, teenagers took elemental mercury from an old industrial facility and played with and spilled the elemental mercury in homes and cars [Nadakavukaren 2000]. Teens may also climb utility towers or experiment with psychoactive substances (inhalant abuse, for example). Cigarette smoking and other tobacco use often begins during adolescence. For more information about adolescent tobacco use see CDC Office of Smoking and Health at http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco

Compared with younger children, adolescents are more likely to engage in hobbies and school activities involving exposure to

  • solvents,
  • caustics, or
  • other dangerous chemicals.

Few schools include basic training in industrial hygiene as a foundation for safety at work, at school, or while enjoying hobbies.

Many adolescents may encounter workplace hazards through after-school employment. Working adolescents tend to move in and out of the labor market, changing jobs and work schedules in response to employer needs or their own life circumstances [Committee on the Health and Safety Implications of Child Labor 1998]. In the United States, adolescents work predominately in retail and service sectors. These are frequently at entry-level jobs in

  • exterior painting of homes,
  • fast-food restaurants,
  • gas stations and automotive repair shops,
  • nursing homes,
  • parks and recreation, and
  • retail stores.

Such work may expose adolescents to commercial cleaners, paint thinners, solvents, and corrosives by inhalation or splashes to the skin or eyes. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) estimated that, on average, 67 workers under age 18 died from work-related injuries each year during 1992-2000 [NIOSH 2003]. In 1998, an estimated 77,000 required treatment in hospital emergency departments [NIOSH 2003]….

Metabolic Vulnerability of Adolescents

Metabolic processes change during adolescence. Changes in cytochrome P450 expression [Nebert and Gonzalez 1987] result in a decrease in the metabolism rate of some xenobiotics dependent on the cytochrome CYP (P450) – for example, the concentration of theophylline increases in blood [Gitterman and Bearer 2001]. The metabolic rate of some xenobiotics is reduced in response to the increased secretion of growth hormone, steroids, or both that occur during the adolescent years [Gitterman and Bearer 2001]. The implications of these changes on the metabolism of environmental contaminants are areas of intense research. By the end of puberty, the metabolism of some xenobiotics achieves adult levels.

Puberty results in the rapid growth, division, and differentiation of many cells; these changes may result in vulnerabilities. Profound scientific and public interest in endocrine disruptors – that is, chemicals with hormonal properties that mimic the actions of naturally occurring hormones – reflects concerns about the effect of chemicals on the developing reproductive system. Even lung development in later childhood and adolescence may be disrupted by chronic exposure to air pollutants, including

  • acid vapors,
  • elemental carbon,
  • nitrogen dioxide, and
  • particulate matter [Gauderman et al. 2004].

Citation:

Principles of Pediatric Environmental Health
What Are Special Considerations Regarding Toxic Exposures to Young and School-age Children, as Well as Adolescents?

Course: WB2089
CE Original Date: February 15, 2012
CE Expiration Date: February 15, 2014
Download Printer-Friendly version Adobe PDF file [PDF – 819 KB]

http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/csem/csem.asp?csem=27&po=10

The Environmental Protection Agency is tasked with dealing with environmental toxins.

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