Air quality and children's environmental health: is our future generation at risk?
Hashim, Zailina (2012) Air quality and children's environmental health: is our future generation at risk?
The text discusses on the air quality with various types of pollutants which included primary and secondary gaseous pollutants, respirable particulate, lead and microbes. Health impacts on children such as respiratory symptoms, asthma, allergies, and impairment of the lung functions, cognitive, as well as hearing ability have been discussed as evidence from previous research findings in other countries generally and in Malaysia specifically. Vulnerability of children to the gaseous ambient air pollutants were highlighted. The indoor air quality has also lately posed threats to children especially microbes in indoor environment. These microbes specifically fungus, caused allergic reactions as well as trigger asthmatic related symptoms to sensitive groups. With the increase of environmental threats such as climate change, air quality will deteriorate further which may amplify respiratory diseases and health problems among children especially the urban poor. Health risk assessment as a tool, can be used to assess the risk, however, it has limitations and is not protective of children. The US EPA has developed a “A Framework for Assessing Health Risk of Environmental Exposures to Children” document with the purpose of providing an overarching framework for a more complete assessment of children’s exposure to environmental agents and the resulting potential health risks. The future direction spells out the responsibilities of parents, teachers, ministries and governmental roles in the protection of children’s health.
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