Children Are Sensitive To Air Pollution and Climate Change Stressors
Frederica Perera PhD, the current director of the CCCEH (Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health), wrote an interesting article published in Environmental Health Perspectives. There she commented that fossil fuel combustion in association with air pollution and carbon dioxide levels, were the underlying reason for why many children suffer from mental and physical health conditions.
She stated that children today are burdened by diseases, that are a direct result of pollution and climate change. Frederica stated that “the single most important action we can take for our children and their future is to cure our addiction to fossil fuel.”
She summarizes her commentary using strong evidence gathered by the CCCEH and other research groups, which shows that by simply reducing the amount of combustible fossil fuels used globally, children will benefit from improved mental and physical health. Not only that, governments around the world could save billions of dollars that would normally be spent on medical care. While all children would benefit from a drastic reduction in fossil fuel emissions, those in less developed nations would see the greatest improvements in their health.
Listed in her concluding paragraphs Frederica wrote that improved air quality would help to reduce the number of infants born with dangerously low birth weight, along with a decrease in childhood asthma. She also believes that there would be fewer problems with brain development, which in turn would reduce the percentage of children born with a lower IQ or ADHD. According to her research, if CO2 emissions were effectively lowered, there would also be less incidents of children dying from droughts or floods. Heat stress, infectious disease rates, malnutrition, along with respiratory and mental illnesses would also improve with lower CO2 emissions.
Her piece closes with the assertion that it is imperative everyone take significant steps to reduce CO2 emission, which means being less dependent on fossil fuel. By growing our own food, driving less, and paying more attention to energy efficient products, we can all start making a difference and help to improve air quality.