NIH News Advisory
National Institute of
Environmental Health Sciences

Tuesday, June 8, 1999
NIEHS Press Contact: John Peterson
Phone: 919-541-7860

Reports from special environmental health issues:
Over Three Million Children Living Near Superfund Sites,
Lack of Dietary Calcium Can Increase Risk of Lead Poisoning

As researchers become increasingly aware of the vulnerability of children to environmental toxicants, pediatric environmental health has become a national priority. In recognition of this trend, Environmental Health Perspectives, the journal of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, is devoting both its June issue and June supplement to current research on environmental exposures and health outcomes for children.

The monthly issue features assessments of children's exposures to environmental agents such as lead, pesticides, air pollutants and chemical wastes, and their relationship to the risk of disease later in life. Among the major findings:

The issue also features a special section called "Environews" that focuses on current research examining the neurobehavioral consequences of children's exposures to agents such as methylmercury, polychlorinated biphenyls and lead, and a profile of a new children's vaccine against pneumococcal infections that has been shown to be 100 percent effective. The news section also includes research updates on chemical phthalates found in some children's toys, and information on new FDA regulations governing the testing of drugs prescribed to children.

The supplemental issue is divided into two sections, the first of which includes 16 papers based on presentations at an international workshop entitled Indoor Mold and Children's Health, held in Alexandria, Va.

The second section includes papers submitted by senior investigators from the Institute's Children's Environmental Health Research Centers, established jointly with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to conduct basic and applied research on the causes and prevention of environmentally-induced diseases in children. These articles address the basic mechanisms that define children's susceptibility to pesticides and air pollutants, and the impact of these environmental toxicants on their growth and development.

"We are all aware that children are exposed to a variety of environmental hazards," writes NIEHS grants administrator Allen Dearry, Ph.D., in the introductory section. "These health impacts can be particularly detrimental for children because of the pronounced differences in the nature and extent of their environmental exposures when compared to adults."

Note: Reporters may obtain free electronic access to both the monthly issue and the supplement between June 7 and June 21 by logging onto the Environmental Health Information Service at: and using the following username and password. username: media; password: child