SACRAMENTO, Calif. – State lawmakers are proclaiming October 2021 Children’s Environmental Health Month, aiming to raise awareness about the importance of cleaner air and water, safer food and healthier products to protect children.
The state legislature formally adopted the resolution in September. It was first introduced in August as House Resolution 68 by Assemblymember Eloise Reyes (D-San Bernardino). The Environmental Working Group sponsored the measure.
“Babies and kids in California are especially vulnerable to the environmental contaminants they’re exposed to every day,” said Susan Little, a senior advocate in EWG’s California governmental affairs office.
“We know that toxic chemical exposures affect the well-being of our children. This official designation will call attention to the need to protect all children from pollution,” she said.
“California's children are regularly exposed to toxic contaminants at home, at school and out in the community. These exposures put them at risk for immediate and long-term health issues. Protecting our children now from needless toxic exposures is imperative to ensure they have long, healthy, happy and successful lives,” said Lendri Purcell, president of FACTS – Families Advocating for Chemical and Toxics Safety and vice president of Jonas Philanthropies, a long-time supporter of EWG’s children’s health initiative.
Children are exposed to hazardous chemicals in outdoor and indoor environments, which puts them at a greater risk of disease when they are adults. A wide range of environmental hazards exists in schools and at home: lead in drinking water and old paint, PCBs, chemicals in cleaners and pesticides in food, wireless radiation and other sources of contamination.
The proclamation reads in part:
From birth through young adulthood, children experience rapid physiological growth, and their systems absorb more toxins in proportion to their body weight than do adults’ systems. Children also have higher metabolic rates than do adults, and relative to body size, children eat and drink more food and liquid than their full-grown counterparts. Children also have unique behavior and activity patterns. They live and play much closer to the ground than do adults, and are therefore exposed differently to toxins.
Children living in poverty and in disadvantaged communities are at disproportionate risk for exposure to environmental hazards. More and more studies link environmental contaminants with serious health problems, confirming that toxic chemicals in the air, water and food are harming children’s health.
EWG has long been at the forefront of the fight against threats to children’s health, empowering parents with information on how to avoid toxic exposures in everyday environments. Find more information about EWG’s work on children’s environmental health here.
The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action. Visit www.ewg.org for more.