Serious Environmental Health Concerns for Children
When considered in terms of 1) the number of children affected, 2) the nature of the impairments, 3) the immediacy of the impact, 4) the strength of the evidence and 5) the disproportionate prevalence among poor and minority children, lead poisoning and asthma are two of our most serious environmental health concerns for children in Cleveland. Both lead poisoning and asthma are caused or aggravated by residential exposures and outdoor pollution.
Lead poisoning and asthma diminish a child’s school performance and their opportunities to learn. Asthma is a major cause of school absenteeism and may impair the child’s ability to participate in a full range of activities. Lead poisoning damages a young child’s developing brain, causing learning and behavioral disabilities.
Where prevalence is high, as in many areas of Cleveland, the impact goes beyond just the child and their family.