Jornal de Pediatria
Print version ISSN 0021-7557
VALENZUELA, Patricia M.; MATUS, M. Soledad; ARAYA, Gabriela I. and PARIS, Enrique. Environmental pediatrics: an emerging issue. J. Pediatr. (Rio J.) [online]. 2011, vol.87, n.2, pp. 89-99. ISSN 0021-7557. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0021-75572011000200003.
OBJECTIVE: To review the most relevant articles regarding environmental pediatrics, its potential effects on health, and especially its advances in prevention. SOURCES: A literature search was conducted using MEDLINE/PubMed and SciELO databases. Articles from 1990 to 2010 were reviewed, in addition to book chapters related to environmental pediatrics. SUMMARY OF THE FINDINGS: There is a significant variety of factors that make children highly vulnerable to environmental hazard exposure, which are mainly associated with children’s comparatively greater consumption of water, food, and air in relation to body weight. According to the World Health Organization, every year more than 3 million children under the age of 5 die because of environment-related conditions. Approximately 30 to 40% of pediatric diseases are related to environmental factors. Children are constantly exposed to various environmental health hazards, among which the following stand out: contaminated water, lack of adequate sanitation facilities, air pollution, disease vectors, chemical hazards, injuries, and accidents. CONCLUSIONS: Nowadays, pediatricians are challenged to address environmental pediatrics health care needs. The pediatric health history needs to be more comprehensive by adding pointed questions to help identify potential environmental risks. Awareness and understanding of the noxious effects of various environmental conditions and knowledge of the related prevention measures will result in timely and adequate interventions that will improve our children’s health and development.
Keywords : Pediatrics; environmental health; child; hazardous substances; prevention; environmental exposure; environmental medicine.