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Children's Health Protection

Trends in Children's Environmental Health


OCHP is working in the US and internationally to track trends, or "indicators," in children's environmental health. Specifically, OCHP is working to identify measures that can be tracked to better understand the potential impacts of the environment on children's health and, ultimately, to identify and evaluate ways to minimize these impacts.

Children's environmental health indicators can be effective tools for understanding children's environmental health in specific geographic areas. These indicators can be used to monitor environmental trends in order to identify risks to children's health, to measure progress towards stated goals, and to target actions where they are most needed. In addition, they can help raise awareness of children’s environmental health and inform policy making.

Below are examples of work OCHP is undertaking to help identify and quantify trends in children’s environmental health at home and abroad.

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Domestic Indicators of Children’s Environmental Health

America’s Children and the Environment: EPA’s America’s Children and the Environment site brings together quantitative information from a variety of sources to show: trends in levels of environmental contaminants in air, water, food, and soil; concentrations of contaminants measured in the bodies of mothers and children; and childhood diseases that may be influenced by environmental factors.
  • America's Children and the Environment website. Presents the latest information on trends in environmental factors related to the health and well-being of children in the United States, including data on contaminants, exposures, and childhood illnesses. Analyses of measures by race/ethnicity and family income are included where data are available.
EPA’s Environmental Indicators Initiative: This initiative improves the Agency's ability to report on the status of and trends in environmental conditions and their impacts on human health and the nation's natural resources. The Indicators Initiative also identifies where additional research, data quality improvements, and information are needed. EPA's long-term goal is to improve the indicators and data that are used to guide the Agency's strategic plans, priorities, performance reports, and decision-making.

Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics: The Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics (the Forum) is a collection of 20 Federal government agencies involved in research and activities related to children and families. EPA is a member of the Forum and is represented by both OCHP and the Office of Environmental Information. The Forum was founded in 1994 and formally established in April 1997 under Executive Order No. 13045. The mission of the Forum is to foster coordination and collaboration and to enhance and improve consistency in the collection and reporting of Federal data on children and families. Also, the Forum aims to improve the reporting and dissemination of information on the status of children and families.

The Forum's annual report, America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, published in 2009, provides the Nation with a summary of national indicators of child well-being and monitors changes in these indicators over time.

Health Disparities Workshop: Logo of the Health Disparities Workshop This workshop, held in Michigan on May 24-25, 2005, was created to develop a scientific foundation to explore the conceptual issues, data needs, and policy applications with regard to the social and environmental factors used to measure and track racial, ethnic, and class disparities in environmental health. OCHP seeks to further the science of developing indicators by including measures of the interaction between social and physical environment that may lead to ill health and health disparities.

The workshop convened a diverse group of environmental health scientists, epidemiologists, social scientists, and public health practitioners to initiate inter-disciplinary theoretical and methodological thinking on the question of environmental health disparities. Next steps will be to apply concepts discussed at the workshop to evaluate social disparities in children's environmental health.

International Indicators of Children’s Environmental Health

Presenting Regional Successes - Learning for the Future: This brochure summarizes the process, outcomes and key findings of the children’s environmental health indicator projects implemented as part of the global initiative on Children's Environmental Health Indicators. Discussions took place at the Children's Environmental Health Indicators (CEHI) workshop "Children's Environmental Health Indicators: Five Years After the Global Commitment at the World Summit on Sustainable Development" in Tunisia in 2008. View the brochure (dated 2009). Exit Disclaimer

World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD): EPA launched a UN partnership to develop indicators for children's environmental health at the World Summit on Sustainable Development. Partners in this effort are: United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), Physicians for Social Responsibility, International Society of Doctors for the Environment, International Network of Children's Health and Environment, as well as the countries of South Africa, Italy, Canada, and Mexico. WHO is leading the effort.
Global Initiative on Children's Environmental Health Indicators (CEHI) Newsletter: As part of the effort launched at WSSD, the World Health Organization has created a newsletter to engage partners and provide updates on the progress of the Global Initiative on children's environmental health indicators. The newsletter provides up-to-date information on relevant global, regional and national indicator activities. View the latest issue of the newsletter (dated December 2006, PDF) (4 pp, 286K) Exit Disclaimer or view past issues of the newsletter Exit Disclaimer.


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