Are Children More Vulnerable to Environmental Chemicals? Scientific and Regulatory Issues in Perspective

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Protecting children from environmental chemicals has become the singular focus for many advocates who believe that without strict regulatory action, our children are in danger. We are at a juncture where emotion, fear, and uncertainty compete with scientific data, toxicological principles, and proper risk analysis. Because of the great potential for this debate to affect public health perceptions, principles, and policies, the American Council on Science and Health has evaluated the topic from several critical perspectives in its new book, Are Children More Vulnerable to Environmental Chemicals? The book also exposes a disturbing pattern in which activists with a non-science agenda manipulate the public's legitimate and appropriate concern for children's health in an effort to promote legislation, litigation, and regulation.

This comprehensive review, edited by toxicologist Daland Juberg, Ph.D., with a foreword by former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. C. Everett Koop, evaluates the science behind the scares regarding children's health and environmental chemicals. This book reveals that there is no scientific evidence to support the claim that children are necessarily more vulnerable to all environmental chemicals. The report includes chapters by leading authors in toxicology, risk analysis, psychology, pediatrics, and other fields, and it examines the role of environmental chemicals including the much-debated "endocrine disrupters" in several childhood diseases.

Public concern about environmental health threats to children has intensified in recent years and has caused scientists, politicians, regulators, and public health officials to take notice. Are young children, infants, and fetuses at an increased health risk from environmental chemicals, either because they have a heightened susceptibility to such compounds or because they experience higher relative exposures to environmental chemicals than do adults? From a public health perspective, this is a legitimate question. Since all of us place a high value on providing a safe environment for children, it is important to determine whether this concern is scientifically valid.

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