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2004 Biennial Scientific Symposium on Children's Health as Impacted by Environmental Contaminants

September 24-25, 2004

The Children's Environmental Health Institute hosted the 2004 Biennial Scientific Symposium on Children's Health as Impacted by Environmental Contaminants on September 24-25, 2004. The Symposium's primary sponsor was the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Other sponsors include the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Texas Medical Association, and the Lower Colorado River Authority. The symposium was hosted at the Lower Colorado River Authority's Natural Science Center at McKinney Roughs Nature Park in Austin, Texas.

The Scientific Symposium provided an opportunity for public health professionals, education policy makers, childcare facility administrators and others to learn how to protect children from health risks related to their environment.

Major reasons for promoting educational information about the effects of environmental pollutants and toxicants on infants and children include: the substantial increase in chemicals and microorganisms that now contaminate our air, food and water; the increase of certain childhood disorders, such as the prevalence of pediatric asthma, doubling of the incidence of atrial septal defects and a 50-percent increase in congenital obstructive uropathy and an apparent increase in the prevalence of learning disabilities and autism. While it is possible that some of this increase may be due to improved diagnosis or reporting, it is a reasonable conclusion that most of this increased morbidity and mortality is due to changes in our environment.

Infants and children have a disproportionate exposure relative to their body weight and therefore receive a porportionately greater dose of toxicants from air, food and water than adults. Since the amount of toxins in the environment increases each year, children born today will have a considerably greater exposure than adults who were born 30 or 40 years ago.



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