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First-ever textbook on children’s environmental health

Philip J. Landrigan and Ruth A. Etzel, two leading U.S. paediatricians compiled and edited this landmark textbook. HEAL contributed to this effort with a chapter focusing on public policy on children’s environmental health in Europe.

“Over the past four decades, the prevalence of autism, asthma, ADHD, obesity, diabetes, and birth defects have grown substantially among children around the world. Not coincidentally, more than 80,000 new chemicals have been developed and released into the global environment during this same period. Today the World Health Organization attributes 36% of all childhood deaths to environmental causes.

Children’s environmental health is a new and expanding discipline that studies the profound impact of chemical and environmental hazards on child health. Amid mounting evidence that children are exquisitely sensitive to their environment—and that exposure during their developmental “windows of susceptibility” can trigger cellular changes that lead to disease and disability in infancy, childhood, and across the life span-there is a compelling need for continued scientific study of the relationship between children’s health and environment.

This Textbook of Children’s Environmental Health codifies the knowledge base and offers an authoritative and comprehensive guide to this important new field. Edited by two internationally recognized pioneers in the area, this volume presents up-to-date information on the chemical, biological, physical, and societal hazards that confront children in today’s world.

With an emphasis upon integrating theory and practice, this textbook offers practical approaches to channeling scientific findings into strategies for preventing and identifying environmental hazards that cause disease in children”

Source: Oxford Press flyer

This landmark textbook includes 60 chapters, and 85 authors from 5 continents. The textbook is divided into five sections - Overview chapters, Environments, Environmental hazards, Environment and disease in children, and Prevention and control of diseases of environmental origin in children.

HEAL’s chapter covers WHO and EU policy developments over the past decade and European policy development on chemicals, pesticides, biocides, toys and consumer goods, mercury, air quality, noise and injuries.

Reviews have been very positive. Howard Frumkin, Dean and Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, University of Washington School of Public Health said “It’s hard to imagine a more comprehensive, thorough resource on children’s environmental health than this book. It ranges from cutting-edge science to trenchant policy analysis, with a dream team of expert editors and authors. This is the definitive work on the subject.”

Target audiences include students on public health courses, those working in environmental health science and policy makers in governments and NGOs.

Information on editors

Philip J. Landrigan, MD, MSc, is a pediatrician, epidemiologist, and internationally recognized pioneer in children’s environmental health. His studies of childhood lead poisoning catalyzed the removal of lead from gasoline—an action that reduced childhood lead poisoning by 95% and has raised the IQ of children around the world. His studies on children’s vulnerability to pesticides triggered passage of the Food Quality Protection Act, the only US environmental law with explicit standards protecting the health of children. He has been a leader in the US National Children’s Study. He has consulted to the World Health Organization, published seven books, and written over 600 scientific articles.

Ruth A. Etzel, MD, PhD, is an internationally recognized pediatrician, environmental epidemiologist, and preventive medicine specialist. She performed the first study to document that children with secondhand exposure to tobacco smoke had measurable exposure to nicotine. Her pioneering work led to nationwide efforts to reduce indoor exposures to tobacco, including the ban on smoking in US airliners. She also produced the first research to show that exposures to toxigenic molds in the home could be dangerous to infants’ health. From 2009-2012 she led the World Health Organization’s activities to protect children from environmental hazards. She is the editor of Pediatric Environmental Health, a handbook for doctors who care for children.

The book is available from Oxford University Press. For more information and to order: or;jsessionid=A5C8288DBCEADD7C20C22A8A1A188524?cc=fr&lang=en&

Originally posted on 27 November 2013

About HEAL

The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) is a leading European not-for-profit organisation addressing how the environment affects health in the European Union (EU). We demonstrate how policy changes can help protect health and enhance people’s quality of life. Read more »


HEAL has over 70 member organisations, representing health professionals, not-for-profit health insurers, doctors, nurses, cancer and asthma groups, citizens, women’s groups, youth groups, environmental NGOs, scientists and public health institutes. Members include international and Europe-wide organisations, as well as national and local groups. Read more »

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