Children's Health Protection
Scientific Data and Methods
The Office of Children's Health Protection (OCHP) has been working with others both inside and outside the Environmental Protection Agency to improve the scientific understanding of children's environmental health concerns. Some scientific data and methods project are as follows:
Toxicity and Exposure Assessment for Children's Health (TEACH)
Toxicity and Exposure Assessment for Children's Health (TEACH) is an EPA project that seeks to complement existing information on health risks to children from exposure to chemicals in the environment. TEACH will serve as a resource by consolidating children's health information from the scientific literature and improving access to that information through an interactive Web site. The TEACH Web site has two main components - a searchable database and Chemical Summary Forms.
These components are used to:
- compile and summarize publications from the literature on early life and childhood exposure and health effects from selected chemicals; and
- condense key findings from the scientific publications into a searchable format.
Children's Inhalation Dosimetry and Health Effects for Risk Assessment
The summary manuscripts from the 2006 workshop co-sponsored by OCHPEE were published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A, Volume 71, Number 3 (2008). The special issue includes an overview of the workshop, four summary manuscripts of topics presented at the workshop, as well as four original manuscripts on related issues that were contributed by workshop participants.
- Risk Assessment Portal
EPA has developed a new Web site that provides basic information about environmental risk assessments to the public. The site also offers links to key EPA tools, guidance, and guidelines used by scientists to help them develop risk assessments.
A Framework for Assessing Health Risks of Environmental
Exposures to Children (Final)
The framework identifies existing guidance, guidelines and policy papers that relate to children's health risk assessment. It emphasizes the importance of an iterative approach between hazard, dose response, and exposure analyses. In addition, it includes discussion of principles for weight of evidence consideration across life stages.
Child-Specific Exposure Factors Handbook (Final Report)
The Child-Specific Exposure Factors Handbook (EPA/600/R-06/096F) is an update of the Child-Specific Exposure Factors Handbook 2002 interim final. This final version reflects EPA's recommended set of childhood age groups identified in its recent Guidance on Selecting Age Groups for Monitoring and Assessing Childhood Exposures to Environmental Contaminants.
The Handbook provides a summary of statistical data on various exposure factors used in assessing children's exposures, including: drinking water consumption; soil ingestion and mouthing behavior; inhalation rates; dermal factors including skin surface area and soil adherence factors; consumption of retail and home-grown foods; breast milk intake; and activity pattern data.
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. Learn more about what OCHP and EPA are doing to help track indicators of children's environmental health and view recent publications on the topic.
- The EPA and the National Institute of Environmental Health
established 14 Centers for Children's
Environmental Health and Disease
Research dedicated solely to the study of
hazards. These unique centers perform targeted
in children's environmental health and translate their scientific
intervention and prevention strategies by working with communities.
The first eight centers were established in 1998 to study the effects of environmental factors, such as pesticides and air pollution, on childhood asthma and children's growth and development. Four more Centers were established in 2001 to study the basis of neurodevelopmental and behavioral disorders such as autism. Additional Centers were established in 2004 and 2007 to investigate how exposure to mixtures of chemicals affects children's health. Each Center fosters community participation in one or more studies.
The EPA National Center for Environmental Research also supports extramural research grants and contracts on topics related to children's environmental health.
- The National
Study has been proposed and developed through
cooperation of the Environmental Protection Agency, the National
and Development, the National Institute of Environmental
Sciences, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The
examine the effects of environmental
health and development of more than 100,000 children across the
following them from before birth until age 21. The goal of the
study is to
improve the health and well-being of
children. Endorsement of the National Children's Study (then called the
Longitudinal Cohort Study) was passed by the U.S. Congress and
signed into law
on October 17, 2000 as a part of the Children's Health Bill of
2000 (Public Law
Around the world, several large infant/child prospective studies have been launched to examine environmental and biological determinants of common diseases. A workshop in September 2005 established the International Childhood Cancer Cohort Consortium (I4C) – a global alliance of longitudinal studies of children to enable investigations of the role of various environmental exposures in the etiology of childhood cancer. Because of its longitudinal design and large sample size, it will be easier to see associations considered statistically meaningful. Initially, this effort may provide valuable insights about he causes of childhood leukemia, and later may be helpful for studying other types of cancer as well as other rare childhood diseases.
On January 25, 2007, "Cohort Profile: The International Childhood Cancer Cohort Consortium (I4C) " was published in the International Journal of Epidemiology. The article discusses the formation of the I4C, its purpose, what it covers, its sample size, and major areas of research. Learn more about I4C by visiting the National Children's Study Web site .
- In April of
2004, the American Academy
Pediatrics' Center for Child Health
Research published a supplement to the Journal
Pediatrics – The
Vulnerability, Sensitivity, and Resiliency of
Developing Embryo, Infant, Child, and Adolescent to the Effects of
Environmental Chemicals, Drugs, and Physical Agents as Compared to
Adults . The
supplement contains articles addressing the vulnerability and
the developing embryo, infant, child and adolescent to the effects
environmental chemicals, drugs, and physical agents, including the
of the stage of development and the magnitude of the exposure. EPA
support for the Supplement.
- In October 2000 EPA released the Strategy for Research on Environmental Risks to Children. The strategy provides a framework for research needs and priorities to guide programs over the next five to 10 years. The Strategy for Research on Environmental Risks to Children includes a stable, long-term, core program of research in hazard identification, dose-response assessment, exposure assessment, and risk management, as well as problem-oriented research that addresses current critical needs identified by EPA Program Offices and Regions.
- On February 8, 2006, EPA announced the release of
the final document, "Guidance on
Selecting Groups for Monitoring and Assessing Childhood Exposures
scientists on selecting age
groups to consider when assessing childhood
exposure and potential dose to environmental contaminants.
- The National
Study (NHANES) has
study used biomonitoring to assess
a set of 116 environmental pollutants. (Biomonitoring is
exposure by measuring the chemicals or their
as adults. The study is becoming an annual survey,
so that in
the future it will be possible to determine how environmental
- EPA hosted
to Identify Critical
Exposure for Children's Health" in September 1999. The workshop
considered the importance of the timing of exposure to toxic
chemicals, and how
time of exposure affects the observed outcomes. Such information is
in determining when children may be the most susceptible to the
respiratory, immune, reproductive, nervous, cardiovascular, and
systems, as well as general growth and
were published in the June 2000
supplement to the
journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
- The EPA held a peer-involvement workshop in July 2000 on considering developmental changes in behavior and anatomy when assessing exposure to children. The workshop addressed defining and characterizing the important facets of child development and how to best estimate childhood exposures given the limitations in existing exposure information. The results of the workshop may help to define a minimum set of early life stages that EPA would consistently utilize in its exposure and risk assessments. The Summary Report of the Technical Workshop on Issues Associated with Considering Developmental Changes in Behavior and Anatomy when Assessing Exposure to Children is available as an EPA Risk Assessment Forum publication.
- EPA has completed Guidelines for Carcinogenic Risk Assessment and Supplemental Guidance for Assessing Cancer Susceptibility Resulting from Early-Life Exposure to Carcinogens. The Supplemental Guidance contains an analysis of studies and a possible approach for how quantitative scientific data could inform risk assessments when exposure to carcinogens occurs during childhood is considered.
- EPA hosted the first-ever national conference on "Preventable Causes of Childhood Cancer" in September 1997. Approximately 300 scientists, government officials, representatives of advocacy organizations and other members of the public participated. Health experts presented their perspectives on a broad range of issues including the special vulnerability of children to environmental toxicants, studies on the role of parental occupational exposures, trends in childhood cancer, and methods used to study environmental factors in childhood cancer. A detailed research agenda and the scientific presentations from the conference were published in the June 1998 supplement of the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. This research agenda is intended to provide a blueprint for closing gaps in knowledge, and thus for guiding prevention of childhood cancer.
- In October 2006, Environmental Health Perspectives published the mini-monograph “Ethics in Children's Environmental Health Research,” based on a papers submitted to a symposium hosted by the Childr en 's Environmental Health Network.
- Ethical Considerations for Research on Housing-Related Health Hazards Involving Children, a study published by the National Academy of Sciences and funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, explores the ethical issues posed when conducting research designed to identify, understand, or ameliorate housing-related health hazards among children. View the executive summary (PDF) on the study from September 2005.
- OCHP sponsors projects that result in papers, reports, and studies on children's environmental health. View the papers, reports, and studies, listed in chronological order from the most recent.
- The Office
of Children's Health
is a participant
Health Organization's (WHO) Task
for the Protection of Children's Environmental Health .
The Task Force's current and proposed
countries; providing advice on
preparing and disseminating training materials; and promoting research
emerging issues. Working with the WHO is a valuable activity
science, since the
environmental health is
developed and needed around
The World Health Organization sponsored the International Conference on Environmental Threats to the Health of Children: Hazards and Vulnerability on March 3-7, 2002 in Bangkok, Thailand. The objectives of this conference were to address new scientific data and research on children's vulnerability; discuss how to improve the current health conditions of children; increase awareness in the health, education, and environmental sectors; and promote action on the protection on children's environmental health around the world.
European Environment Agency
the WHO Regional Office for
have jointly developed the report Children's
Health and Environment: A Review of Evidence
. This publication provides an overview of
available evidence of the relationship between the physical
children's health. It identifies both research needs and policy
protect children's health
from environmental hazards.
- In December 2000 EPA announced the Voluntary Children's
Evaluation Program (VCCEP), which is designed to provide data
enable the public to understand the potential health risks to
associated with certain chemical exposures. The pilot phase of VCCEP
volunteers from the
chemical industry have
of the 23 chemicals listed for consideration in the pilot. The
of the pilot (tier 1) is in progress for the sponsored