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Children’s Exposure to Environmental Contaminants: An Editorial Reflection of Articles in the IJERPH Special Issue Entitled, “Children’s Exposure to Environmental Contaminants”
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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(3), 265; doi:10.3390/ijerph14030265

A Review of the Field on Children’s Exposure to Environmental Contaminants: A Risk Assessment Approach

1
Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, 4301 West Markham, Slot 820, Little Rock, AR 72205, USA
2
Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Miami, Florida, 1251 Memorial Drive, Coral Gables, FL 33146, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Received: 29 December 2016 / Revised: 21 February 2017 / Accepted: 25 February 2017 / Published: 4 March 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children’s Exposure to Environmental Contaminants)
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Abstract

Background: Children must be recognized as a sensitive population based on having biological systems and organs in various stages of development. The processes of absorption, distribution, metabolism and elimination of environmental contaminants within a child’s body are considered less advanced than those of adults, making them more susceptible to disease outcomes following even small doses. Children’s unique activities of crawling and practicing increased hand-to-mouth ingestion also make them vulnerable to greater exposures by certain contaminants within specific environments. Approach: There is a need to review the field of children’s environmental exposures in order to understand trends and identify gaps in research, which may lead to better protection of this vulnerable and sensitive population. Therefore, explored here are previously published contemporary works in the broad area of children’s environmental exposures and potential impact on health from around the world. A discussion of children’s exposure to environmental contaminants is best organized under the last four steps of a risk assessment approach: hazard identification, dose-response assessment, exposure assessment (including children’s activity patterns) and risk characterization. We first consider the many exposure hazards that exist in the indoor and outdoor environments, and emerging contaminants of concern that may help guide the risk assessment process in identifying focus areas for children. A section on special diseases of concern is also included. Conclusions: The field of children’s exposures to environmental contaminants is broad. Although there are some well-studied areas offering much insight into children exposures, research is still needed to further our understanding of exposures to newer compounds, growing disease trends and the role of gene-environment interactions that modify adverse health outcomes. It is clear that behaviors of adults and children play a role in reducing or increasing a child’s exposure, where strategies to better communicate and implement risk modifying behaviors are needed, and can be more effective than implementing   changes in the physical environment. View Full-Text
Keywords: children’s exposures; life-stages; health; global burden of children’s diseases; environmental influences; children’s risk assessment children’s exposures; life-stages; health; global burden of children’s diseases; environmental influences; children’s risk assessment
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Ferguson, A.; Penney, R.; Solo-Gabriele, H. A Review of the Field on Children’s Exposure to Environmental Contaminants: A Risk Assessment Approach. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 265.

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