Children's Environmental Health

The Office of Children’s Environmental Health’s (OCEH) mission is to protect children from environmental health risks. Since children’s bodies and organs are still developing, they are especially susceptible to adverse health effects related to contaminants in the air, water, food and soil.

As part of their mission, OCEH works to develop and implement practical ways to reduce children’s exposure to environmental pollutants. They make an effort to identify and help remediate pollutants that put children most at risk and provide information on pollution-specific issues for families, teachers, day care providers and other concerned individuals.

OCEH’s four-step “CARE strategy” — Coordination, Assessment, Reduction and Education — aims to create a cleaner, safer, healthier environment for our children. The strategy involves developing programs and providing tools that address specific types of environmental concerns. Such no-cost programs enable caregivers, educators and parents to mitigate public health risk and take environmentally responsible actions that safeguard children.

Environmental Health Risks For Children

Environmental contaminants affect children differently than adults. Children generally eat more food, drink more water and breathe more air relative to their size and consequently may be exposed to relatively higher amounts of pollution. Children’s normal activities, such as putting their hands in their mouths or playing on the ground, also create opportunities for exposures to contaminants that adults don’t typically face. In addition, environmental contaminants may affect children disproportionately because their immune defenses are not fully developed and their growing organs are more easily harmed.