Are Children’s Health Problems the new “Normal?”

Childhood cancers like leukemia and brain cancer have gone up 20% in the last 40 years.

Puberty is starting earlier than it did in the past.

Learning disabilities and autism have grown exponentially in the last several decades, affecting one in eight children.

Asthma rates in African American children had the most dramatic rise, nearly 50% between 2001 and 2009.

Are these health issues facing our children just the “new normal?”

I say no!

We have the moral imperative to take action and protect the health of our children – and the goods news is we have an opportunity to prevent some of these health outcomes by tackling toxic chemicals.

Decades worth of peer reviewed research show that toxic chemicals, many of which we’re exposed to every day, from the products in our homes and places we work, have been linked to asthma, certain types of cancer, hormone disruption, harming the developing brain and other health problems. For a full report on what the latest science says about chemicals our health, click here.

The good news is we know that prevention works.

  • When the U.S. took lead out of gasoline, the levels of lead in the American population plummeted within five years.
  • A study by the Breast Cancer Fund found a 60% drop in BPA levels, in just three days, after removing all canned and packaged food from the participant’s diets.
  • Similarly, Sweden saw a decrease in the level of toxic chemicals from flame retardants showing up in breast milk after the use of the chemical (PBDEs) was reduced.

It may seem abstract – how the chemicals from your couch or electronics migrate into our bodies – but a combination of government regulation, leadership from retailers and manufacturers and consumer action can reduce these exposures.

This three-pronged approach can help us start down the path to slow and perhaps reverse some of the alarming health trends affecting our children.

Published on: December 10, 2013
About the Author
Photo of Lindsay Dahl

Lindsay Dahl is the Deputy Director of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families – a national coalition working to put common sense limits on toxic chemicals to protect public health from the unnecessary exposure. Dahl is a grassroots organizer, blogger, and coalition builder.

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Recent Comments

Great points Lindsay!! And awesome for DrGreene for sharing on this platform!

Agreed, I’m so grateful for Dr. Greene’s leadership on these important issues.

Thanks for this, Lindsay! Good to know it’s not a hopeless situation but one that needs more awareness.

Thanks Lynn, it isn’t hopeless! Prevention works, we just need to prioritize it as a country!