The environmental health of children: priorities in Europe

Publié le 1 Mars 2007
Mis à jour le 5 juillet 2019

Objectives: to evaluate existing research on the environmental health of children and provide a prioritised list of risk factors and policy recommendations for action, the Policy Interpretation Network on Children's Health and Environment (PINCHE) was set up within EU FP5 (QLK4-2002-02395). The project focused on air pollutants, carcinogens, neurotoxicants and noise. PINCHE was a multidisciplinary and multinational network of representatives from science, industry, NGOs, and consumer and patient organisations in Europe. Materials and methods: a literature search was performed using the Pubmed, Embase and Toxline databases. The quality of the gathered articles was assessed and their information and relevance was interpreted within a systematic framework. Information related to exposure, epidemiology, and toxicology was analysed separately and then a risk evaluation of particular environmental factors was made. Socioeconomic factors were specifically taken into account. The results were compiled, and considering the present regulatory situation, policy recommendations for action were made. Finally, the risk factors and policy recommendations were prioritised through a process of discussion between all the partners. Results and conclusions: PINCHE concluded that outdoor air pollutants (especially traffic-related), environmental tobacco smoke, allergens, and mercury were high priorities with an urgent need for action. Brominated flame retardants, lead, PCBs and dioxins, ionising and solar radiation, and some noise sources were classified as being of medium priority. Some toxins were given low priority, based on few exposed children, relatively mild health effects or an improving situation due to past policy measures. We recognise the shortcomings of such a prioritisation and, though some measures are more urgent than others, emphasise that ideally all policy measures should be carried out without delay for all toxins. This priority list must be continuously revised, the precautionary principle should be central to all decisions, and the focus should be on safe exposure levels for children.

Auteur : Zuurbier M, Lundqvist C, Salines G, Stansfeld S, Hanke W, Babisch W, Bistrup ML, van den Hazel P, Moshammer H
International journal of occupational medicine and environmental health, 2007, vol. 20, n°. 3, p. 291-308